Missional Flatting

As you can tell, I am trying to bring Signposts02 back to a more emerging/emergent church focus. Greg did express this was his interest on Signposts and I do appreciate his involvements and his insights he has on signposts. There are some great articles in the below link.

From: http://www.emergingchurch.info/stories/missionalflatting/index.htm

“Having an open door : missional flatting”

Mark Grace : Massey, New Zealand
[10.03]

On Saturday the 23rd of August Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship ran it’s first Missional Flatting workshop in New Zealand. Over four hours, 16 students from TSCF’S group at Massey University explored what a missional flat might look like with Michael Duncan who amongst other things, gives some of his time to the work of Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship.

A missional flat is simply a community of students living in a flat who intentionally seek to live out and speak about the good news of Jesus Christ to those on their street.

The workshop was broken into four sections. The first gave students a grounding in the theology of missional flatting. The second section moved into clarifying the purpose of a missional flat. We talked through how to identify the right kind of flat mates. And finally the group processed how to cut covenant with each other by agreeing on shared habits, values and standards within the flat.

The group enjoyed learning about the outward practices of radical hospitality; inviting neighbours over for regular meals, having an “open door”. We dreamed of what a flat would look like that practised counter-cultural generosity with one another and those on the street.

We also delved into the inward practices of prayer and personal devotions, and a workshop like this would not have been complete without a discussion on the real possibility of failure and suffering.

Sharon Page a 3rd year Massey student reports, “missional flatting has made my life more purposeful and undivided. I am supported by my flatmates in mission, through prayer and action, and have been spurred on to continually have God at the centre of all I do and to live out my faith daily.”

Student feedback on the workshop has been exciting: “very helpful”, “awesome”. Many students are now keen to establish a missional flat.

Mark Grace, TSCF Manawatu-based staffworker and organiser of the event, makes the comment, “throughout New Zealand students from TSCF groups are living in mission-minded flats. In Dunedin and Palmerston North students live intentionally in lower socio-economic area’s with a desire to serve those around them. In Wellington, TSCF’s International Christian Fellowship base a lot of mission out of flat communities. In Christchurch ex TSCF staff have a community housing project. We wanted to support these initiatives while helping start new missional flats.

“The dream is to see a network of missional flats established around the country. Our hope is these flats will do street barbecues, Christmas and Easter activities on their street, while at the same time inviting the residents of the street to meals and creating a community life where it would be natural to hear about Jesus and be invited to explore more about his invitation to Life.”

What’s next for the Missional Flatting initiative? Michael Duncan is hoping to speak on the topic around New Zealand. TSCF is exploring putting together a small booklet using his material….


15 thoughts on “Missional Flatting

  1. My buddy Rob Bell? @3:35

    Shane Claiborne:
    “Almost all of our intentional communities have folks that are attracted to the same gender in them. Part of what we do is we create a space where people can live out their passions and find intamacy outside of just the nuclear family or a marital like covenant…”

    The Simple Way > 12 Marks of New Monasticism:
    12) Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.

    Claiborne’s book recommendations include Henri Nouwen (contemplative Catholic priest who struggled with homosexuality) and Brian Mclaren.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3668674588209420494&hl=en#

  2. I’m reading a lot about the American simple church movement and things that Mark Driscoll’s church is doing. Both have bought their methods into Australia.

    The Simple Church Movement seems to be very popular in rural Australia. But in analysing their theology in the younger gatherings and events, they seem to have swallowed up a bit of an IHOP flavour in approach to worship.

    Mark Driscoll runs a… thing called Acts29(?) and is attempting to plant churches around Sydney. I do not know where they are located. Does anyone have information?

  3. Hey Greg – is missional flatting associated at all with the simple church movement?

    If you do not know what the simple church movement is, I will try to do a post on this when I get the time.

  4. @ Specks – that couldn’t be further from the truth, there is NO way they are doing anything like IHOP.

    I know a lot about the Act29 network here in Sydney and I’m quite excited about it, especially seeing a lot of ex-C3 becoming involved. Although we have made the decision to stay where we are, this is an group I would encourage any to join.

  5. I haven’t heard of the term ‘missional flatting’ before, but I have come across invitations to join that similar kinds of community.

    I think that how well it would work in terms of outreach really would depend on the location.

    I’ve lived in several places where the community does street events, that are just an expression of the local community, and are not anything to do with a missional flatting situation. One of those places was in Darlington in Sydney (next door to Redfern); another is where I live now, in northern Sydney.

    I’ve found that we have all kinds of community events here, frequently based around the kids. The local school knits the community together and after a while, it seems as though links form amongst people all over the suburb. These could be enhanced by a local church, but a church has certainly not caused it. Yet it is the kind of thing that many churches would enjoy.

    In other words, if a missional flat came along in my area, I’m not sure their contribution would be unique in the social sense. But in another area, this could be different.

    In terms of talking about Christ – that is different. A friendly community does provide more opportunities for relationships to form, in the context of which, Christ can be shared.

    Some people may choose to stay away from relationships where they perceive this to be the agenda.

    I am finding as a non-churchgoer, that I do have the opportunity to discuss faith with people in our community. Mainly listening to their stories actually. It’s surprising how often the subject comes up, unprompted. There are many who don’t attend a church who still have some kind of faith, and many mothers who do consider the development of their kid’s faith.

    If the idea that personal faith is only practiced seriously in a church setting is taught, this has some real flaws in it. One of these is that some people will discount their own walk with God if they are not attending church, feeling that for whatever reason they will not attend, and that this in some way precludes them from an active faith. Yet this is a lie.

    In some ways, it would be helpful if churches became known for encouraging people in their faith without demanding anything for that. The sense of potential demand or commitment is threatening, and the sense of being bound up by expectations puts people off being part of one. I think the same may apply to a missional community of any kind. People will be wary.

    But if this is something which people are being led to do, it is worth doing. In the right neighbourhood, people could be really blessed as a result.

    The context I have come across this in was nothing to do with IHOP! Neither did it have anything to do with same sex relationships. I don’t think that the idea of a missional flat situation would be exclusive to any particular kind of denomination.

    It sounds like an intense setting. That would have its pros and cons for the inhabitants over time.

  6. Just thinking – there’s no reason there needs to be a ‘missional flat’ though it might help single people. Just being hospitable in your own home, wherever you are, open about your faith, and giving towards the community around you, can be ‘missional’. When I was at church there was a focus on inviting people to church. Perhaps if every family learnt to practice hospitality towards neighbours and friends in their local community, then over time there would be many more opportunities to share our faith. It doesn’t need to be only in a ‘missional’ setting, and everyone can do this. So in a way – why would a missional flat be special?

  7. I meant to say – more encouragement in learning hospitality and opening our homes up might be more helpful in sharing our faith than the emphasis I’d been taught in the past, on inviting people along to church services.

  8. @specksandplanks-
    Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington (not to be confused with Rob Bell’s Mars Hill in Michigan). He founded The Resurgence and is co-founder of the Acts 29 church planting network. He is missional and a calvinist.

    The missional approach stresses community involvement and can be interdenominational in outreach:
    From the Acts 29 website:
    “… we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed.”

    “•We are we not fundamentalists who retreat from cultural involvement and transformation, but rather missionaries faithful both to the content of Scripture and context of ministry.
    •We are not isolationists and seek to partner with like-minded Christians from various churches, denominations and organizations in planting church-planting churches.”

    Mark Driscoll partners with Tim Keller who promotes comtemplative spirituality with courses like “The Way of the Monk” at his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC.

    The articles titled “How to Practice Meditative Prayer” and “Meditative Prayer: Filling the Mind” by Winfield Bevins on The Resurgence website stink of contemplative mysticism.

    I don’t know just how heavy Driscoll is into contemplative prayer personally, but he has not done anything to stop it from being promoted on his own website.

  9. To Teddy – I never said Acts29 was developing an IHOP Burn theology. I drew the similarities with the SCM and IHOP.

    I said, “The SIMPLE CHURCH MOVEMENT seems to be very popular in rural Australia. But in analysing their theology in the younger gatherings and events, they seem to have swallowed up a bit of an IHOP flavour in approach to worship.”

    That is unless Mark Driscoll started the SCM? All I said about Mark Driscoll and his Acts29 thing is:

    “Mark Driscoll runs a… thing called Acts29(?) and is attempting to plant churches around Sydney. I do not know where they are located. Does anyone have information?”

  10. BTW I think it might be the same Michael Duncan who was instrumental in me sticking with this whole Christian gig…thanks God for the man

  11. Driscoll gives a “MH-17” warning (“Mars Hill–under 17 requires adult permission”) to distinguish between the “offensive” and “really offensive”.

    He has videos on youtube titled “pleasuring your spouse”, “biblical oral sex”, and “masturbation as birth control”.

    “If you’re tempted to these sorts of things — including sexual sin — some of you say, “Now Mark, Jesus wasn’t sexually tempted.” Well, of course he was — 30 something year old single man who had women who adored him. You don’t think he ever wanted the comfort of a woman? You don’t think he ever got tired of going to bed by himself? You don’t think that he didn’t once want to have intimate relations with a woman? He was tempted.”
    (Mark Driscoll – “How Human was Jesus?”, October 15th 2006.)

    “While systematic theologians have spilled much ink on this point, the precise biblical answer is that we do not know. The Bible never addresses, much less answers, the question. Some will find this disturbing, but the Bible is clear that humility is the first requirement for a good theologian, so that we can be satisfied with what the God of the universe thinks we need to know.”
    (Mark Driscoll – “Vintage Jesus” – Could Jesus have sinned? – Page 52)

    John MacArthur blasted Driscoll in 2006 in Pulpit magazine.

    “The problem with the “grunge” approach to religion is that it works against the sanctifying process. In fact, in one of the messages I listened to, Driscoll actually boasted that his sanctification goes no higher than his shoulders. His defense of substitutionary atonement might help his disciples gain a good grasp of the doctrine of justification by faith; but the lifestyle he models—especially his easygoing familiarity with all this world’s filthy fads—practically guarantees that they will make little progress toward authentic sanctification.”

    http://www.sfpulpit.com/2006/12/11/grunge-christianity/

    I disagree with MacArthur when he writes in the article that Driscoll’s “soteriology is exactly right”, but MacArthur does a good job of describing Driscoll’s worldy ‘grunge’ Christianity.

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