Different trends come and go within local Churches. My perspective is that to move and grow we need to be flexible enough to run with different emphases in different seasons, both personally and in Church life.
A word that has become part of my vocabulary is the word ‘missional’. This word has become the new buzz word around Church the world over and if you do a quick search on Google you see the presence of “missional communities,” “missional leaders,” “missional worship,” even “missional seating,” and “missional coffee.”
Today, everyone wants to be missional. Can you think of a single pastor who is proudly anti-missional?
So the big question is, what does that mean and why is there such an emphasis of the Holy Spirit on this action of the Church? The emphasis of course, isn’t new. It is as old as the mandate in Matthew 28 to, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” So why the new excitement? My answer is simple… the world is changing and the need to adjust our mission to speak into a changing environment is what drives the agenda to be missional. We need to think ‘bigger’ and yet ‘smaller’ at the same time. Bigger in that we need to be everywhere – planting New Testament Churches all over the city. Smaller in that we need to be mobile, fast and agile in our approach to mission.
I read an article by Ed Stetzer, which spoke to this and explains what I’m trying to articulate. He speaks of being at Saddleback church planting conference in LA (this is a large mega Church) and he spoke of how the largeness of the gathering and the place itself could potentially hinder the mission of Church planting. We end up thinking like elephants when we should think like rabbits.
Consider this fact: Elephants have the longest gestation period in nature, nearly two full years! It’s almost unheard of for more than one calf to be born at a time. This 260-pound “baby” will feed on his or her mother’s milk for about six months. At that point, the calf will begin transitioning to solid food, while continuing to nurse until age three. This whole cycle won’t start again for the mother until her calf is fully weaned. And for the calf, it will take 15 years before he or she begins his or her own reproductive life.
Now let’s take a look at the reproductive lifecycle of a rabbit. The gestation period for a rabbit is usually a month. At birth, a single female rabbit will typically expect not one, but up to 14 babies per litter. Within minutes after giving birth, it’s possible for a female rabbit to be impregnated again. That means a female rabbit can potentially have one litter per month! And as early as six months into their life, rabbits will begin reproducing.
What a difference! Let’s just take a moment and do the math. If a rabbit has an average of three female babies per litter per month, then at the end of year one, there will be 37 female rabbits (including the mother). If all 37 reproduce at the same rate, then at the end of year two, there will be a total of 1,369 female rabbits (including the original 37). At the end of year three, it jumps to 50,653 and so on and so on. While the rabbit has had 50,653 babies the elephant still has just one.
We need rabbit thinking for the Missional Impact of the Church in our city to reach thousands and not just one in the same period of time. Think big but act in the ‘small’ doable missional opportunities and acts of kindness within your grasp and let your life become a missional adventure that breaks new ground for the Kingdom of God.
A question that I’m regularly asking people all over the world at the moment is what I call my ‘Caleb question’. What mountain has God given for you to take? If there is such a ‘mountain’ then your response should be the same as Caleb’s (Joshua 14:12 NKJV) “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day.”
Start small and see how God will multiply it!!
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