Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

Incarnational Churches

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2009

Incarnational Churches

Been doing a lot of thinking about the missional church – so what else is new? 🙂 More specifically, thinking about Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk’s book The Missional Leader, Sara Miles’ book Take This Bread, and Margaret Feinberg’s book The Organic God.

It seems to be that what these three very different books have in common is the importance of the incarnation. In The Missional Church Fred and Alan issue a call to action, a call to be passionate, to be involved in the life of our communities, the life of our churches, and the life of our members. In Take This Bread, Sara speaks of the deep calling to be incarnational in ministry with the hungry in San Francisco, to be the feet, the hands, the eyes, the ears, the heart of Christ in more ways than just handing out food, but to eat and drink and share and give together. In The Organic God, Margaret also talks about the call to a Christian life as living an incarnational life, touching others with real hands, entering someone else’s world, connecting with others in deep meaningful ways.

As I think about the challenge we face as a church today, the answer is seeming more and more simple. To be the church, to be followers of Jesus Christ, to live a Christian life, to be fruitful in that life, is to be the embodiment of Jesus Christ for others – touching with real hands, feeding with real food, sitting with real people, taking time to listen, to care, to help, to get out of our four walls, and to be the body of Christ in something more than a symbolic way.

There is power in that kind of a connection and ministry, power that is lost when we pull in and close ourselves off, power that is lost when we focus solely on survival of our own. When we get outside of ourselves, literally and figuratively, God’s power is unleashed in often surprising and powerful ways, and because of that, lives are changed.

What will it take for you, and your church, to be more incarnational? In a big way? Yes – I said BIG – we are beyond the time when thinking small will do much. I firmly believe that God calls us to big things, risky things, after all, that’s what the incarnation was to begin with – God giving up all the privileges and power of God’s own self, becoming one of us, even to the point of dying on a cross – when we answer that call to risk big, and to keep risking big for the sake of the world God loves, we will bear much fruit.

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