Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mike Frost in Oxford

Early this morning a bunch of us drove down to Oxford to hear Mike Frost (author of 'Exiles' and 'The Shaping Of Things To Come'). Mike is one of the world's foremost writers and thinkers on Incarnational Mission so the potential for new learning was very high. It was a long way to go for a day conference but it was well worth the drive. His morning session was basically the best presented case I've ever heard for why and how church as we currently know it must change - and fast.
He summarised church as consisting of 4 basic elements: worship, community, formation and mission. His next observation was that whilst each of these elements is vital, one of them has, throughout the Christendom era, acted as the 'organising principle' of the others. That element is worship. Then, for the rest of the morning he went on to describe what church might look like in our Post-Christendom world if we re-oriented around mission as our 'organising principle'. What really set this session apart were the many examples taken from his own church (or 'faith collective' as he cheekily referred to it) which goes by the name of 'Small Boat Big Sea', as well as a whole bunch of stories from his mission buddies around the world.
Perhaps the one thought that impacted me the most came during his exploration of the Mission Dei, the self-sending God, who he described as having a 'human-shaped hole' in his heart. That possibility had never stuck me before, but I instantly got it.
Nice one Mike, hope you have a safe trip back to Oz ;-)

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