Rethinking the sending paradigm
In his thought-provoking book, The Sending Church Defined, Zach Bradley of the Upstream Collective goes to great lengths to explain what sending should look like.
If we are ever going to have a healthy, effective missionary care model…
we will need to return to a biblical sending paradigm.
Here are some more of Bradley’s thoughts, along with my comments:
God-the-community [i.e. the Trinity] creates a community [i.e. the church] to join him in his community mission for his glory. (p. 28)
Being sent into the harvest fields is actually being called to labor beside him.
When you became a part of God’s family…
you became a part of the family business.
Every member of the community of Christ is on mission with him.
Becoming a sending church…begin(s) with helping every member understand they are sent, then moves toward equipping them to live that way. (p. 35)
there is no clergy-laity distinction.
Missionaries are not a special, superior class of Christian.
Every believer has a vital, strategic role to play
in expanding God’s kingdom (compare Ephesians 4).
Though our culture tends to make everything a matter of specialization…
we need to recapture the mutual responsibility
that we all share toward caring for each other.
It’s the church who knows and keeps watch over its own who is well on the way toward sending them. (p. 40)
Missionary care is incubated in the local church…
not outsourced to professionals and para-church organizations.
To be sure…
there are times when professional help is required.
But the practice of proper nurture
and depends upon…
the sending church.
Sending churches unapologetically expect all legitimate believers to be commissioned heralds of their great salvation. The sending church of today will do well to help every member understand and own their commission. (p. 73,83)
And it will help every member understand and accept their role
in practicing the one another commands among those it sends out.
I might add that they also consider all their members to be
sanctioned missionary-care providers
as they function within their gift set.
What can you do…
right where you are…
to start nudging things in this direction?
Need some help?