We're planting a church Part 3: What is MISSIONAL?



This is part 3 of my "We're planting a church..." series.
You can read PART ONE by clicking HERE.
And you can read PART TWO by clicking HERE.

As we prepare to plant, or birth, Awaken Church in Natchitoches, LA, our vision is for awakening people to a life-changing relationship with Jesus, and equipping them to awaken others.

In order to see this become reality, we're beginning with what we're calling our 3-M Strategy.  As mentioned in Part Two of this series of blog entries, these 3-Ms are that Awaken church will be intentional about being a...
MISSIONAL church
MULTIPLYING church
MULTICULTURAL church

What is Missional?

Well, it's pretty much been a buzz word in the contemporary Christian church for the past few years.  To the point that it almost feels like a cliche thing to say, like "oh missional is the latest fad, so let's do that."

But then I've never been one to wonder or care if something was a fad or not.  Missional is basically being focused on the mission of Jesus to the extent that this mission literally informs what we do and don't do.  In other words, this is who we are and what we do.  Not that other things are bad, were just not going to focus on places Jesus isn't leading us. Because missional is who we are when the mission of Jesus owns us.

Our mission is the same mission of Jesus, and Jesus came to...
-seek & save the lost (John 19:10)
-save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)
-make a way for us to have life abundantly (John 10:10)
-reclaim what the enemy, Satan, has stolen (1 John 3:8)

For Awaken Church in Natchitoches, LA, we believe that being a Missional Church means that we will be intentional about...

-reaching unchurched people, ages 18-35.  Yes, this is a specific, and seemingly narrow focus... and yes, we do hope to bring people back to God, no matter what age they are.  But, we're believing that, God willing, even through this specific focus, others will be reached as we hit this target.  This age group currently represents a generation known as the Millennials, so as we gather our team we will be praying & brainstorming what this will look like for Awaken Church (and we're seeking Millennials to join the team!).

Something we haven't missed is this: the largest generational group in Natchitoches, LA, is Millennials (age 15-34) comprising 35.2% of the total population of the area.  Compared to a national average of 27.2%, Millennials are also the most over-represented group in the area. (2016 stats provided by Percept Group, Inc.)

-engaging university students.  Natchitoches, LA, is home to Northwestern State University, which quite honestly, was a big part in determining where God is leading us to plant a new church.  Awaken Church will engage university students with the love of Christ, and we will do whatever it takes (short of sin) to do it! As we gather our team, we will be praying & brainstorming what it looks like to intentionally love these young men & woman with the love of Jesus... to awaken them to His love... and to walk with them as they follow Him... and to send them out to awaken others.

-engaging the community through acts of service.  Awaken Church will seek to serve the community, not simply be another church flavor to choose from on Sunday mornings.  As we gather our team, we will be praying & brainstorming what it looks like to best serve the community, building partnerships with other congregations, as well as businesses, city hall, the marketplace, etc. A lot goes on in Natchitoches, LA.  We will be involved! Actually, there is a good chance that Awaken Church will be engaging the community through acts of service well before weekly worship gatherings begin!

In this context, we will intentionally join Jesus on the mission to go and make disciples of all people groups, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit... and teach these new disciples to obey all the commands Jesus has given us. (Matthew 28:19-20)

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