UPDATE FIRST- (Scan below this first paragraph for the blog entry, “Dude, Where’s My Church?”
Sanctus Missional Communities is now an official non-profit church network with the Evangelical Free Church of America! We are excited to be one of the first bivocational-led (all of our leadership couples have other jobs) missional network in a metro area like St Cloud. Our goal for this fall is to plant our SECOND missional community in another neighborhood- pray! We are developing a ‘seed account’ to be generous to families in crisis in our city, generous to families in our missional network, generous to regional efforts to send out other leaders and plant other missional communities, and generous to our bivocational teachers/preachers as they lead us in God’s Word. If you would like to contribute to our ‘seed account’ please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Dude, Where’s My Church?”
Sometimes missional living can be vague and spotty if you don’t define church, disciple-making, and mission.
It sometimes feels like Ashton Kutcher walks up to you and says “Dude, where’s my church?” Vagueness can set in.
Instead of ‘where’s’ my church, I would instead ask ‘Dude, WHO’S your church?”
We get the question a lot- “so if you guys meet Wednesday nights, where do you go to church?” The question is a wrong question on at least two levels. 1) As Jesus-followers together with other brothers and sisters, we were never meant to ‘go to church’. Church, in the new testament, is a family that is sent on Jesus’ mission in their given city. They are a people, not a place. As a family, we often correct others by replying. “We belong to a family sent by Jesus to bless the St Cloud metro”. We call Wednesday nights our missional community gathering time, 5:30 a meal together, then worship/sharing/prayer/discussion. It is how some would define ‘church’, but we gather and scatter all through the week.
So here are the essentials of ‘church’ or ‘ecclesia’ in the new testament. Let me ask you ‘Dude, who’s your church?”
UP- Do you and your friends share a desire to worship, pray, commune, interact, listen to God your Father? to Jesus?
IN- Do you have friends who do life 24-7 together, sharing real joy/struggles/in-betweens, growing together to be like Jesus?
OUT- Do your friends love inviting people into your homes & lives, serving them and sharing with them the grace of Jesus?
Anna, the kids, and I picked up a new couch last week from a friend who needed to unload some items. All I could do was think about how many more people, strangers, friends, newcomers and oldcomers would be sitting on the new leather pads and wearing out the couch. We booted our old couch to the curb, kid food and barf stains and all. But part of me was sad to see the old couch go- all the butts that sat on there to make those memories…why am I attached to the couch?
And then I put the new couch into place and thought that all of those butts will love this new couch and what it has to offer. It is something unique that they have not sat on before until we invite them to do so. Much like this new couch, missional living and doing church as ‘family’ feels like a new thing most people aren’t quite used to and can sometimes feel awkward. Have we been so accustomed to the old couch that we simply need something new to make sure our priority is people, not couches?
I hope that our focus stays on making disciples of regular families like yours and mine. Missional living helps us keep this focus. We don’t have much else to offer people, just our lives sold out for Jesus, His healing, power, and redemptive ‘rescue plan’ to save lives…and a good place to rest and enjoy the UP, IN, and OUT of a church family… And maybe its best that way?
Please keep us in your prayer!
The Pankratz family loves to have people praying for us- our three boys Justus, Jason, and Silas are all quite the handful for our amazing stay at home, teacher, cook, artist, nurturer, prophetic warrior, amazing bride Anna. She does it all! And when Jeff gets home it is dad-time before I hop online to do some Bemidji State teacher graduate courses. ugh. If you ever come through St Cloud, please let us know a couple days in advance and we will invite you in to meet our friends! Thank you for praying that Jesus protects our hearts and lives with His grace, and pours out His wisdom for our life and ministry.
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