The other day a good friend, who is an associational missionary, and several other denominational workers challenged me with the idea of writing a strategy for a “Missional Outpost” kind of church much like Antioch in Acts 11, and Acts 13. There is a part of me that resists that idea, because the Antioch church seems to have a relatively simple strategy. Obedience to Acts 1:8. It is a church that is committed to the principle of simulataneous witness to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the Holy Spirit, and absolute reliance and dependence on the Holy Spirit.
The other side of me recognizes the value. I believe that the apostle Paul had a plan as he set out on each missionary journey. At the same time he was ever open to the redirecting presence of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me a pretty good strategy. So my first thoughts migrated toward a name, and the acrostic M.O.S.S comes to mind; Mission Outpost Saturation Strategy.
It troubles me a little that so many differing kinds of ministry have picked up on the concept of “people groups” to the point that the term is incorrectly being tossed around. Guys who ride Harley Davidsons are not a “people group” by missional definitions. People who live in Hopkins, SC are very different from people who live in Southern California, but that does not make us differing people groups. At least that is my personal opinion.I want to encourage a purity of language and definitions. Maybe there are “POP” groups within our differing cultures. Pockets of people. Sometimes that may mean that ethnicly there are people groups from all around the world in our communities, especially in our urban areas.
But there maybe other matters in American culture that allow for people to be hidden or separated, and ultimately unreached, such as the homeless, or the addict, or the inmates. Sometimes there are outreach efforts to those groups, and sometimes they are overlooked. Every part of the world has under-reached POPs.
For me, the cell-group church model has some shortcomings, but in our culture, so does the housechurch in its purist form. I am struggling for a word to define the idea in my head, but I am thinking of home-type groups (maybe in offices, or other places than homes) that function for all practical purposes like house churches, but that unite weekly for celebration in a central location, and collect funds together especially for mission. Furthermore, I see these churches including “traditionalists”, those who cannot make the transition to a new model. So SUnday School, for example, remains a very viable ministry.
I love the thought of “Mosaic” because I believe it is broken pieces coming together to form something beautiful. In this case, broken lives being put together to form the beautiful “body of Christ”. So like Acts, meeting together house to house, and also gathering at the “temple” for celebration together. A Mosaic of ethnicities and economic diversities. I am looking for the word: not house church, not cell-group church, not organic church, but . . .?