Lecture Today and Intro to The Lord’s Prayer

Today is my first chance to lecture in a classroom setting. As I have been preparing over the last couple weeks, I have found that I will never get it the way I want it. I have been writing and rewriting parts of it for the last three days and am not really sure that I’ve got it right. I am not really nervous about doing it, which is somewhat of a surprise for me. I am usually terrified to preach in front of people; I figured teaching would give me the same feeling.

The lecture is on community formation and mission, two things that tend to get split up in the church. The mission boards and spiritual life committees rarely dream of working together or being the same group of people, yet I think not doing it this way is a disservice to the church. Discipleship and mission both inform one another and are interrelated.

We must always keep in mind is that the mission of the church is intricately tied to the formation of disciples. The kinds of disciples you have will determine what mission you are able to accomplish, and what kind of mission you participate in will determine what kinds of people you have for disciples. This is the normal way the church functions; however, often times we don’t recognize that these aspects are interconnected, and if we do we have a hard time incorporating both of these together. Take, for instance, your basic membership intro courses what kinds of material does it cover? Essential church doctrines, polity, history, and the purpose of the church are the most common subjects covered in these classes. If you want to learn about mission or outreach, you will have to take another class. Those of us in the church tend to dichotomize belief and action. In modernity, belief and action are accepted dualisms, most churches fall on one side of the category or the other depending on how you read and interpret the Gospel. Jesus’ life, his ‘theology,’ and his actions we’re all apart of the same motion as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God. We as the church need to recapture this kind of holistic discipleship.

I think that the Lord’s Prayer offers us a paradigm for community formation and mission, or as I am calling it “Missional Formation.??? I think the words missional formation, get at a holistic idea for community formation better than other ways we can talk about it. It reminds us that not only are we a people always in mission, but that our mission shapes us and we need to be shaped for mission. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us what concerns are most important for our communities to care about, and pray for, while we continue to recite this simple prayer we find that it shapes our mission by “bending our wills??? toward God’s will.

In the next week I will be posting the rest of my thoughts and findings on the Lord’s Prayer as missional formation.

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4 responses to “Lecture Today and Intro to The Lord’s Prayer”

  1. Wess, I enjoyed you sharing your thoughts.

    I think if a community really did embody the Lord Prayer as a “mission statement” that would be awesome.

    Great stuff.

  2. […] Since I am in the process of thinking and writing about the Lord’s Prayer as a paradigm for community and missional formation for churches it seemed a fitting time to discuss how the prayer points us in the direction of a humble life. The Lord’s Prayer* is set in the context, actually in the exact middle (meaning its of grave importance), of Jesus’ famous sermon – the sermon on the mount.  Jesus sets up the prayer by telling his disciples to not be like the hypocrites (and TV evangelists), who flaunt their spirituality all over the public airwaves.  Rather true humility is when you pray with the door closed so no one can see you.  Its not that spirituality is to be a private thing, its not; in fact most of the sermon on the mount is about public faith, but our own “spiritual development??? and relationship with God isn’t measured on how pompous and well-known we make it.  […]

  3. […] I’d like to frame the next group of “featured??? posts that will be showing up here on gathering in light.  I will be continuing to post my thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer, and how it can and should be used as a missional discipleship tool in churches from Anabaptist and Quaker, to emerging and missional, to Orthodox and Catholic (and everyone in between) churches.  The main points of thinking that will be presented here is: how the Lord’s Prayer ought to be something practiced by all Christians on an ongoing basis, comparisons between the Qaddish, an early Jewish Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as thoughts on each of the petitions and how they should inform the church’s overall missional engagement with the surrounding culture.  I am posting these thoughts in about 800 words, in hopes to spread out the conversation and encourage dialogue.  This project is something I have been working on and thinking about for the past year, and have recently lectured on at Fuller. Ultimately I would like to get these thoughts published in a journal if they fly here.  Your feedback will be very appreciated and useful in my further developing of these thoughts. […]