Thank You for the Journey We've Begun

As 2008 draws to a close I want to thank you for faithfully reading my musings and meditations this past year. I hope they have kept you connected with my heart as well as my hope for you and Grace.

I am especially grateful for a family who is so responsive to following Jesus on this journey we've embarked upon to recover our mission in our community - becoming a missional community. A journey like this requires us to unlearn some things that have become very comfortable to us as we learn things that feel uncomfortable. I have been encouraged and humbled by the stories I hear each week of Grace folks stepping out in this new adventure.

I hope we have all recovered a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a "sent one" who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as "Misseo Dei" - the sending God, redefines our understanding of the church. Because we are the "sent" people of God, the church becomes the instrument of God's mission in our community. Many see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church: a means by which the church grows. Many churches have mission statements or talk about the importance of mission(s). Where missional churches differ is in our posture toward the our community and world. A truely missional community sees our mission not as a needed program but as our primary purpose and passion. Like Jesus we are sent into our community. We do not expect people to come to us. We pursue them. And this passion is not the passion of pastors alone. Every disciple is called to be an agent of the Kingdom of God, and every disciple is to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life. We are all missionaries sent into our community and culture.

As we move into 2009 let's continue to move into our community with increasing freedom, boldness, compassion and creativity.

Fighting for your heart,

Gary Franklin