Missional - a new way of seeing
October 11, 2006
Some six years back, Tyndale Seminary redefined itself within a "missional model" or paradigm. Simply put, it means that all we teach, how we mentor and the purpose of training are located in a view that the church's calling is to be Christ's kingdom in the world.
Posture-wise, it means that we turn our faces outward. We prepare leadership not to run churches, agencies or companies, but to be an outward reflection of God's love for the world: a defensive mode we chose not to assume.
Education then looks to the work of God in transforming people, communities, cultures, countries and the world.
Far from being theoretical or simply creative academic planning, it pushes us all to be personally transformed. I can't run a school that expects the Spirit to use our people in transforming ways and not experience that myself.
Here was my trap: getting closer to the expected age for retirement, I assumed I was pretty well at the end of needing to be changed. I have lived and served in leadership all my life. Raising funds, recruiting people, running organizations has been my calling.
Then slam-dunk, God enfolds me in his transforming process. I had got stuck in just working at improving the enterprise here a little, there a little. "How easier it would be to slip out of this role with modest activity," I had thought. "No need to put yourself on the line now. Enough of that in the past to last a life time."
Today I live in a time of personal challenge, requiring new learning, listening in new ways, testing new skills, and learning a more risk-prone walk of faith.
As I expect ministry to transform others, that same process needs to capture my life—or what I say and do becomes insincere chatter.
Lord Jesus, You who called us to new births, in this role of leading, may we who others expect to lead not get stuck in the easy ruts of the road's middle, or lost in mazes of unintended wandering. In our commitment to your transforming presence, may we be carried on the same wind of change we expect others to find, knowing the ever-renewing presence of your Spirit. Amen.
To lead is to be transformed. For in leading I am by necessity testing, learning, finding out, and if in process I'm not in a transformation mode, then I get stuck and if I get stuck so do my people and our organization.