our commission

We’re discovering that our commission here in Boston is not to plant churches, but to live radically as the called-out people of God, in close proximity to like-minded disciples. (and invite others into the way of Jesus, but one that we are modeling first and foremost)

What, you ask, is different about that than what we’re all called to do? Good question.


UPDATE: OK, I had some time on my run to think about what I mean when I say these things.  Let me break it down.

“live radically” – The way of Jesus is radical in the world’s eyes, because it places its hope in something that is not of this world.  It embraces the “dream of God,” which is to see all people put their whole trust in Him and adopt His character: care for creation; identifying with and speaking for the poor and marginalized; expressing our God-given creativity; imitating Christ in purity and righteousness; practicing interdependence and fellowship with fellow believers; enjoying rhythms of work, play and rest; and making all of life a “song of praise” to the Creator. (the church does so many other things and God is so many other things, but space doesn’t allow me to list them all here…)  You can see how this way of life is truly “radical” to those not living in God’s plan, but as Shane Claiborne says, these things are “ordinary” to the Christian.

“called-out people of God” – We are called out of many things.  I like Mike Frost’s use of the term “exiles” in his most recent book, which has that name.  Our lives are exilic in many ways: we live in the desert, under the tender care of a loving and leading God, but awaiting a final day of deliverance; we live outside of the domain of religiosity, which is a slave to laws and power and human strength; we live outside of the kingdoms of this world, choosing instead to serve the King of Kings.  So this is what I mean by “called out.”  I suppose it could also mean that we have God-given purposes on our lives, but I mostly mean it in an exilic way.

“in close proximity” – This is different for everyone, of course, but the older I get, the more I’m convinced that true, deep fellowship is difficult — if not impossible — outside of regular, informal contact in the context of close proximity.  For some, this means living down the street, and for others it means living in a big Victorian house together.  The non-negotiable in our minds is  regular contact with other “exiles” that doesn’t need to be planned out, and that spurs us on to follow the way of Jesus.

“like-minded disciples” –  Those who strive to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ, and take Jesus at his word, no matter how difficult.  This has enormous implications, of course.

In summary, I think the people of God critically engage, but refuse to adopt, many of the facets of the culture around them.  God’s way serves as a refreshing alternative to the way of self-indulgence, dog-eat-dog, and hopelessness, because it is a taste of life lived as we were created to live — as fully human.


12 responses to this post.

  1. What, you ask, is different about that than what we’re all called to do?

    i don’t understand, can you rephrase???

    sorry, i’m just stupid 🙂


  2. Posted by Steve on May 17, 2007 at 10:43 am

    in other words, “how is our commission different from every other Christian’s commission?” (besides the obvious difference in location)

    and I guess I’m saying that I don’t see much of a difference, but I could be wrong.


  3. what do you mean by to live radically, called-out, close proximity, like-minded disciples, invite, and modeling?

    now i’m not being deliberately obtuse here, its just that these are loaded terms 🙂



  4. Posted by Steve on May 17, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I dunno, Miller — what do those terms mean to you? =)

    I’ll ask the questions around here, mister!


  5. 1) I mean “radical” is a loaded term because a lot of bad and good things have been done in a radical way. Not to say we should not live radically, (if by radical, we mean whole-heartedly following Christ no matter what.)
    2) Called out is what the word “holy” really means in Greek (hagios)
    3) Close proximity is more a structural word to me. Obviously, you will surround yourself with people in Boston and not Nashville.
    4) “Like-minded” is a loaded term. It sounds bizzaro cult-ish which is awkward coming from the beginning of the Boston Movement (but, I digress.) However, it is also very Pauline and scriptural. (“Being like-minded…having the same heart…”- Eph.)
    5) Invitation is a radically different mind set of evangelism than conversion because it emplies an offer to meet a person rather than an assimilation of doctrinal statutes.
    6) Modeling sounds like you are (to be cliche) “walking the walk before talking the talk.” Which brings to mind another word, “authentic.”

    Or, at least, those are my thoughts.


  6. Scripture ref. above is Philippians. I apologize.


  7. Posted by Mitch on May 17, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Stephen, is this what you do at work all day?! Dang!


  8. Posted by Steve on May 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    only when my motivation is in the toilet, Mitch… like today. most days, i work. =)


  9. Hey Steve-

    How long until the marathon? What’s your goal this time around?

    Hope you guys are doing well…


  10. Posted by Steve on May 18, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    The marathon is a week from this coming Sunday (May 27th)! I really think I’ll break 2 hours, 50 minutes, but as you know, it all comes down to the conditions that day.

    We’re doing well, Chris. Thanks for the note. Blessings to you and Stacy.


  11. Geez, you are crazy fast. I need you to coach me in my next marathon. Seriously.

    Good luck, man. I want a full race report when you get a chance.


  12. Interesting thoughts. I like the idea of living life as it was intended to be lived, as fully human. I like it.


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