Last spring the Temple House community read Thin Places: Six Postures for Creating + Practicing Missional Community by Jon Huckins with Rob Yackley. We were encouraged and challenged by Jon's words, and the stories he shared about his community in California. After a couple weeks of the study, it was clear that we needed to have Jon in St Louis!
Fast forward to March 2015. The Temple House Dwellers gathered, along with a few like minded friends from around the Midwest, for a two day intensive to explore what missional community could look like in our neighborhoods.
It's hard to give a short update about our weekend together, simply because every minute was full of content worth sharing! Here are a few highlights:
- What if we took seriously the need for a neighborhood expression of the Church? We considered looking beyond the four walls of a building, but instead viewing our neighborhood as a parish and out neighbors as congregants.
- How can we participate with God to heal a broken world? What if we stopped more often to ask "What is God already doing?" When we ask where God is, we have to be willing to change the metric of success. Are we prepared to do that?
- We considered the idea of being a sent people - sent to walk with others towards Jesus. With that, we must go in the postures of curiosity and helper, not postures of conqueror or hero.
- The mission of God is reconciliation, and the Church is to embody and extend this reconciliation. This was huge, especially as we consider the pain and injustice we're experience in our city. First we're to be reconciled to God, and then to each other as a missional community. At that point, we become a reconciling community that results in signs of Jesus in our community. (For me personally, this is what I keep coming back to as the leader of the Temple House Community. My desire is to be a reconciling community!)
- Most people enter missional community with certain expectations, desires, or beliefs about what community will look like. We spent an entire afternoon exploring some of the myths of community, and where we can find pieces of truth in the myths. The big takeaway: there is an assumption that community can fix everything. No! Wholeness is in Jesus, and we need to create an environment that turns to Jesus first. If you're interested in reading about these in more detail, you can check out this link to Jon's blog.
- On Saturday, Jon walked us through the six postures of missional community: listening, submerging, Inviting, contending, imagining, and entrusting. These postures are a whole other post! You'll be hearing more about the postures as the Dwellers continue to practice them in our neighborhood.
We had the chance to show Jon around Benton Park West on a very rainy evening. We walked the neighborhood, from Arsenal to Cherokee and California to Iowa, sharing stories of transformation along the way. I love sharing our neighborhood with visitors! It's a place full of beauty and brokenness, hope and despair. It's in the beauty that we see the hope of what's to come. He is making all things new!