As you may have heard, some friends and I are planting a church. This post is part of a series I’m doing that outlines some of the vision God has given us. I’d love to interact with you about it.
1. “Why?” – 2. Our mission – 3. Skeptics and Dreamers, and now Part 4 – our vision to become a missionary community.
A COMMUNITY OF MISSIONARIES
The word “missional” gets bandied about a lot nowadays, and tends to mean “whatever I think the church ought to be doing that it isn’t doing.” However, when we talk about being a missional church, we mean that we want to become a missionary congregation, where the community at large thinks of itself not as a collection of isolated consumers of religious goods and services, but as a sent community, launched by the Holy Spirit to embody and proclaim the good news of Jesus in our neighborhoods, workplaces and “third places.” We want to cultivate a community ethos of missional engagement where people begin to see themselves as missionaries, sent to their city / community / neighborhood / workplace as agents of healing and hope, moving in fresh extensions and fresh expressions of the kingdom of God. We desire to equip people to be a breath of fresh, Spirit-infused air to their spheres of influence, joining with God in his work of blessing, reconciling, and renewing the messy, broken world we live in.
We also want to be a sending church, a community where the missional impulse of God’s people is cultivated and resourced so we are constantly sending people in formal and informal ways. We want to be more serious about our sending capacity than our seating capacity. We want the questions “How are we serving our neighbors this week?” and “How are we equipping people to live missionally this week?” to be more interesting than “How many people were in Sunday worship this week?”
Thus our definition of success will not be based solely on how many people come to our gatherings or how much money they are giving, but rather whether or not we are cultivating followers of the Way of Christ. We will be looking to see if our community is cultivating people who see and do life “on earth as it is in heaven.”
“…the kind of people who serve rather than dominate, who forgive and seek reconciliation rather than bear grudges and persist in alienating others, who feed the hungry and visit those in prison without any fanfare or expectations of return. They are the kind of people who speak out against injustice, who are more concerned about others’ welfare than their own, the kind of people willing to risk their lives so that others may live.” 
More than just a building or an institution or a great worship service, we desire to be a Jesus-shaped movement, where we take his words seriously and seek to be transformed into his image, loving one another as Jesus has loved us, living in the new creation life that has been given to us and moving out as ministers of reconciliation to the skeptics and dreamers of Fort Wayne.
KINGDOM-MINDED and CITY-FOCUSED
We will strive to cultivate partnerships with other churches across Fort Wayne, working together to see Fort Wayne renewed by the grace and love of God.
More than simply looking for “our tribe” to increase, we will be actively seeking the renewal of the city through partnering with other like-minded churches and agencies in the city in official and un-official ways.
We aren’t interested in simply carving out our own little self-sustaining religious space in Fort Wayne as much as we are interested in instigating a kingdom movement in Fort Wayne and beyond. We want to dream dreams as big as God’s and join him in the renewal of all things.
Next post – Values: Journey, Honesty, Community
 Stephen Fowl and Gregory Jones, Reading in Communion (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock), 1998.