If you have ever led a missional community or a congregation of missional communities, you have fielded some form of at least a few, if not all, of these questions:
Who is God?
What is God’s mission in the world?
What is our role in God’s mission?
What is a missional community?
What should our missional community do?
Who should our missional community serve?
Does our missional community have to have a mission?
If you are like us, You both love these questions and you hate these questions. They are the right questions for disciples to be asking. But how do you form a people who come to the same answers?
Alasdair MacIntyre offers a clue when he says, “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story do I find myself a part?’” All these questions can only be answered from within a story. Thankfully, the Bible offers us just that all-encompassing all-of-life Story. And this is the Story that everyone, both followers of Jesus and those who follow something other than Jesus, need to hear, know, and believe. Again and again.
We have found N.T. Wright to be spot on when he says, “An essential part of our theological and missional task today is to ‘tell this story as clearly as possible, and to allow it to subvert other ways of telling the story of the world.’” That is why we wrote the True Story and use it all the time in our local congregations for both discipleship and evangelism. There is something powerful about telling the Story with Jesus as the hero, and seeing the Spirit of Jesus work to bring people into the Story of Jesus.
We’ve seen this telling of the Story helpful in both individuals processing the gospel story and also serve as the building blocks of new communities. We’ve watched as the Spirit brings new life to new disciples and those who have followed Jesus for years, but grown cold in their affections. We’ve watched new missional communities form, new businesses launch, and new churches be planted as followers of Jesus begin to ask, “What story am I a part of?” before asking, “What am I to do?” Above all, we’ve been changed as we rehearse and reorient in this Story.
Our prayer is that this telling of the True Story will be both a tool for you to know the Story and also that it will inspire your own creative tellings of the Story. As you soak in this Story, remember the words of Lesslie Newbigin, “You cannot understand the Story without Jesus. And you can’t understand Jesus apart from the Story.”
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Author Kevin Platt
Kevin is planting Missio Mesa in Mesa, AZ where he lives with his wife Kayleanne and their three kids. He’s also a part of the apostolic team of Missio Dei Communities, a multi-congregational network of Missional Communities in the PHX Valley.