Saturday, September 27, 2008

Missional Communities 2

I read this from an interveiw with the Spanish painter Joan Miró on his thoughts about surrealism:

"What counts more than the painting itself is what it exudes, what it spreads. Little matter if the painting is destroyed. Art may die, but what is important is that it spreads its seeds on the soil. Surrealism pleased me because the surrealists did not regard painting as an end. A painting should not cause concern about remaining what it is, but rather that it should produce seeds, that it spreading sowings from which other things will grow..."

I wonder if in todays culture we are more concerned with how things look than what they produce?

Take church for instance if the building of the central congregational model of church is an end in itself, we become much more concerned with how that picture looks than what it produces. Our energy, focus and time can be all about the Sunday morning show. Yet the majority of larger churches I am aware of are definitley more concerned with producing seeds and spreading those sowings so that other things will grow.

I actually think there is a greater danger that small missional communities become more concerned with the painting. Creating a beautiful picture of community becomes more important than spreading seed that grows. If you are growing a small community you need to note one word "Growing" If something is growing it won't stay the same. I am concerned that missional communities haven't properly thought through what they would like if they were successful and actually can be critical of what they may one day become.

If history is cyclical we should note that most larger churches started as small missional communities, it's just that term wasn't around when they began. Success meant growth.

I see a worrying little tendency for smaller communities to be little exclusive, sometimes intentionally other times accidentally. They can be hard to get into and aren't particularly open at the edges they appeal to certain social and educational groupings and have a distinct lack of sociological diversity. Larger groupings are definitely more socially inclusive.

“Love community and you will kill it. Love your brother and you will build it.” Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I think we have people out there who have fallen in love with the idea of community and not the idea of reaching the lost.

Or the Shane Clairborne paraphrase “If you love the vision you have for community, you will destroy community. If you love the people around you, you will create community.”

In the creation of community we have to expect growth, we have to not be overly fixated with the picture we want to paint but totally focussed on the seed we want to plant and the growth we want to nurture.


alamedero said...

Great post Brian, I couldn't agree more!

The Shane Claiborne paraphrase is probably him paraphrasing the same thing that Bonhoeffer said in "Life Together", Chapt. 1.

Dave Carrol said...

Do you think that this concept is relative to what your ministry gift is though?

As someone who thinks and thrives by casting vision... creating new things... facilitating others in their destiny/ministry (which is more along the apostolic lines)... I do thrive through following a vision. That does spur me to love my brother. And as a result of that, I'll do many things within the community to grow it.

But that is a burdensome task to many whose ministry gifts fall in the pastoral area (who are the majority of a church community really). It's not liberation... it's the opposite. For most I find those statements to be true but somehow I don't think it's always the case.

Just a thought. It's one of the things that still bug me about the full on communal living thing. There still have to be Apostles and Prophets and leader to make it go somewhere.

Dan King said...

Hey Brian ... hope you and the family are well. Thanks for the thoughts. I added a little intro and used it as an article at with a link back to your blog. Hope that's ok?



Brian said...

Thanks guys, Jonah I knew that, Dan no worries and Dave good questions, I will try to answer in my next post.