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Missio Dei: A Missional Order

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : February 16, 2006

When we started Missio Dei about 1.5 years ago, we really didn?t have a clue about what we were doing.  Sure, we had the same ethos
that we have now-but we had no idea what it should LOOK like. We didn?t
want to define things too tightly, because we wanted Missio Dei to
emerge out of our enagagement with the West Bank. And so, we were open
to being messy. We were open to experimentation. We were open to making
mistakes. And we?ve made mistakes. But in the process, we?ve learned
some things. And because of what we?ve learned, we?ve got a renewed
focus. We are leaner, more committed, and a bit wiser.

We started out trying to be a network of house churches that had a weekly large gathering.  I know that this approach seems to work for our friends at Vineyard Central, but it was really bad for us.  Probably because Vineyard Central had a sort of history that led them to where they are today.  For us, it was a mistake.  We got the worst of both worlds.  And I should have known better.  It wasn’t really faithful to the vision God put on my heart.  There were two things that were really important to me when we started Missio Dei: 1) a commitment to a specific neighborhood (the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis), and 2) that our core would be a group of radically committed disciples.  Since my late teens, I’ve wished I could be a married protestant monk.  When I closed my eyes to envision what Missio Dei would look like, I kinda envisioned a group of neo-franciscans serving the West Bank.  But I thought my dream was too extreme and wouldn’t attract a crowd.  And part of me still was too in love with the idea of attracting a crowd.

That part of me died around a year ago. There is nothing to keep Missio Dei from returning to that earliest vision.  This weekend, Missio Dei is gathering together for a retreat.  At that retreat, we’re going to articulate our refocused commitment to be a Missional Order for the West Bank.  Please pray for us.

We are much smaller in number than we were a year ago.  But the funny thing is that we are poised to actually make a difference.  Impact is about more than numbers.  I’d rather have 10 committed people than 100 semi-committed people in Missio Dei. 

I’ll share more about the shape of Missio Dei in future posts.  And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my series on Discipleship in America…I’m just taking my sweet time.

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