Friday, September 25, 2009

The DNA of the Body of Christ

In CMA we have defined the DNA of our organic churches in the following way:

1. Divine Truth: Truth comes from God. It is the revelation of God to humankind. It is best seen in the person of Jesus and the Scriptures. In both cases, there is a mysterious connection of the Divine and human. Jesus is both God and human. God authored the Scripture, but at the same time there were over 40 human authors as well. Nevertheless, Jesus and the Scriptures are both without blemish. The indwelling Spirit of God is also Divine Truth. He brings the revelation of God and the frailty of humanity together.

2. Nurturing Relationships: Humans were never created to be alone. We are social creatures and have a natural and intrinsic need for relationships. Our relational orientation is a reflection of the image of God in us. God Himself is relational and exists in a community—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is love because God is relational.

3. Apostolic Mission: Apostolic means to be sent as a representative with a message. We are here for a purpose. We have been given a prime directive to fulfill—to make disciples of all the nations. This part of us also comes from who our God is. Jesus is an Apostle. He is the Chief Cornerstone of the apostolic foundation. Before He left this planet, He spoke to His disciples and said, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21)

The DNA at the core of every disciple, church, network and global movement is the important glue that links us all together and connects us to Jesus, the Head, directly (D) to one another as family members (N) and to the world where we are all on mission (A).

At CMA the initial team of leaders starting out with a global movement in mind made conscious decisions all along our path not to centralize or create an artificial glue to keep us together as an organization. We decided that if the divine truth of Jesus and His word, the nurturing relationships of being in His family, and the apostolic mission He has given to each of us is not enough to bind us together, than we will not be together. We purposely chose not to resort to what we saw as lesser forms of organizational glue such as a single name/brand, organizational dues or covenants, or some mandated methodology. We determined that Christ as Head and the resulting consequence of us being a family together on His mission was enough, and to substitute something less would eventually kill the movement. With this decision, we lost all sense of control, tracking, and centralized support structure. We often explain to people that we could not possibly count all the churches in CMA, which is true. But actually, we do prefer it this way as well. With this movement we will be able to see if Jesus really is enough, and that was worth it to us. We are still in the midst of this grand experiment, and so far we are not disappointed in Jesus.

There is a real—though mystical—glue that connects us all in the one body of Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:4-6) We are all connected. Part of our problem in our churches is that we believe less in this mystical reality than in our own organizations that we can see, touch and manipulate.

We at CMA have chosen to let the presence of God among us be the only glue that binds us together as a movement. Though we do pass on simple reproducible systems that tend to catalyze the formation of disciples, leaders, churches and movements, the heart of each system is this same DNA and demands nothing else from each disciple, church or network. None of our systems are mandatory; they are presented as a way of doing the work, a very productive and simple way, but an optional way nonetheless. We understand mandated methods are not compatible with a decentralized grassroots movement that continually reproduces. Those out in the fields simply must maintain a level of autonomy that allows them to hear from God and decide what to do in their specific context.

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