Yesterday I posted some rambling thoughts entitled “Missional Block Party: Take One.” I thought I’d post a few more thoughts about what that adjective – missional – actually means or looks like in the context of a block party.
First, “missional” is an overused but still helpful term that is rooted in the theological understanding that God is on the move in the world around us, and, thankfully, that God is on the move in a redemptive way in the world around us.
Much damage has been done because of the perception (too often based in reality) that Christianity is primarily about bad news. Bad news for you, bad new for me, bad news for the middle east, bad news for our neighbors, bad news for trees and animals, and bad news for everyone.
But Christianity is not primarily about bad news.
Isaiah, the ancient prophet, wrote this:
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. (Isaiah 43:19, CEB)
God is on the move. God is on the move in a redemptive way. God is on the move in a redemptive way in the world around us.
In other words, God is on mission among us.
So, a “missional” block party is one that, somehow or another, connects what we are doing with a block party with the big project of restoration and renewal that God’s up to.
And it doesn’t just mean getting preachy or passing out tracts, though there are elements of the unique and narrow story of Jesus that I think are worth sharing as part of my participation in this beautiful project.
But sometimes the initial entry points into God’s mission might be more universal or accessible. Planting a garden. Laughing and enjoying food with people. Creating and appreciating creativity. Some of the reformers called this common grace – the idea that pieces of God’s character and mission are to be enjoyed and extended to all, regardless of belief or cognitive assent of certain theological principles.
So a Missional Block Party is simply a party where the point and purpose is wrapped up in and pointing tothis experience of common grace – it’s a pointer, even if a subtle pointer, to a God at work, doing a new thing and making a way where there was no way before . Not conversion (at least not as many think of it) but an awareness and recognition that a piece of God’s redemption can be experienced in the here and now as we grill and play and laugh as your dog chases our cat.
And that all of this can be a start and an entry point into something bigger and more beautiful.