07 August 2012

If we have an alternative story, who does what?

‘As we anxiously gaze into the future and delve back into our history and traditions to retrieve missiological tools from the Christendom toolbox, many of us are left with the sinking feeling that this is simply not going to work’ (17). What is needed is a new paradigm: ‘a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values, especially as they relate to our view of church and mission’. –Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways.

Hirsch believes that we need to put the emphasis on developing the quality of new life in Christ as an alternative to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of Western culture, rather than on a quantitative program of church multiplication? Why do we not explore what it means to be an effective prophetic community?


Here is the toolkit for story, i.e., this how we put the plot to work, as it were.


Eph. 4 11It was he who “gave gifts”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.


extend the gospel. They ensure that the faith is transmitted from one context to another and from one generation to the next. They are think about the future, establishing the church in new contexts and developing leaders, The shepherding and teaching functions are needed to ensure people are cared for rather than simply used.


know God's will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They call the community to obey what God has commanded and question the status quo. 


recruit. They communicate the gospel message to recruit others to the cause. They call for a personal response to God's redemption in Christ, and draw believers to engage in the wider mission of growing the church. 


nurture and protect. As caregivers of the community, they focus on the spiritual maturity of God's flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually network of relationships to make and develop disciples. Shepherds value stability of the of the mission.


understand and explain. They communicate God's truth and wisdom and help others to remain biblically grounded to better discern God's will, guiding others toward wisdom, helping the community remain faithful to Christ's word. and constructing a transferable doctrine.

Fill in the blank…

fill-in-blanksPaul is telling us that these gifts are given to the church. The context is not on individuals who have these gifts, but the purpose of the gifts in the church. How does the church respond and adapt to resistance from the culture, marginalization, persecution, or even lack of relevance.

Paul is saying that these various gifts are given to the church so that it can know where it needs to go and what it needs to do; to keep on track, as well as to nurture and protect the flock.

The question is, how does the church recognize these gifts, who has them, how are they used in the ministry of the body of Christ?

Finally, how would you define each of these gifts? Do you agree or disagree with the individual synopses?

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