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    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Missional Ministry in Paris (Fin)

    Recently, I interviewed a Missional Pastor about his work in Paris France and on their experience of living in another culture.  This Missional Pastors name I interviewed is Tim Meier who part of the C&MA (the denomination I am a part of). This is post deals with his answers to my questions about mission in Paris, it includes Tim's answers and my commentary. (See Part one here: Missional Ministry in Paris and part 2 here: Missional Ministry in Paris (Part Deux) and part three here: Missional Ministry in Paris (Part Trois))

    7. What are some creative innovations that you've developed that would work in American culture as well?
    I am heavily influenced and inspired by much of what has come out of the missional church movement over the last ten years. I am more and more convinced that small groups of people in true relationship, doing true faith together, have much more of a possibility of reaching the lost than attracting unbelievers to big shows. So, I have begun huddle groups here (5-7 people) who are heavily discipled but also released in mission right away to reproduce it. They in turn are the leaders of a new missional community, birthed out of our international church here. There is a 2nd missional community coming out right now and we're seeing a ton of fruit out of these groups of 50-70. We do a ton of stuff connected to art: jazz concerts, art shows, film etc. and all of that is usually connected to pre-evangelism or relational connections that lead to conversations.

    I know I have said it before in these posts, but I see our country going down the path of Europe much faster than some would care to honestly realize.  I think this type of ministry is what will reach our country best in the coming years.  As a side note, I really like the phrase "huddle groups" they seem to represent a group of people coming together but with a larger purpose in mind than just themselves.

    8. What is your overall strategy of trying to present/share the gospel?
    My overall strategy is to develop real avenues for relationship. The relationship is not just the "means to the end" but is the end itself. I am confident that God will lead, as He does, through the relationship to have real, meaningful conversations about what it means to fully surrender to Christ. I am highly skeptical of people being convinced in a matter of 5 minutes and praying a short prayer and that "working" at all to produce followers of Christ. It might work if God is in the magic business, but I think he's in the business of making disciples. So, my strategy is to love people, walk with them, and realize that God wants so many of them to follow Him, and if I can stay true to my commitment and let Him work, most of them will. I am also convinced, (influenced here by Scot McKnight) that the Gospel is truly found in I Cor. 15 which is the formula (Jesus came, died, resurrected, and will come again) and is not just the "plan of salvation." So, people need to come to grips with Jesus, not just the idea of salvation, although salvation clearly plays a big part in the whole deal. Hope that made sense.

    I agree with Tim on this answer.  As the years have gone by the simple prayer formula hasn't seemed very substantive and in many ways I've heard people present the 'Gospel' they missed most of the life of Jesus in that and explained more about the 'Gospel' benefits than what it fully was.  Great approach and The King Jesus Gospel by Scot Mcknight is highly recommended to see the full implications of preaching/teaching the full Gospel.

    9. Who is the major focus of your ministry (Disillusioned Christians? Non-Christians? Anyone in between?)
    Our major target are people who aren't walking closely with Christ. IT honestly doesn't matter to me if they're disillusioned, non-believer etc. I know that sounds like a jack-ass kind of answer but there are hardly any Christians here, so we kind of feel like whoever God wants to see come to know him, that's who we want to see. I would say that I spend the majority of my time with staunch atheists and those who hate the idea of God, so if you had to answer, probably "non-believers."

    Well, that concludes our Missional Ministry in Paris Blog series.  I hope you've been encouraged and blessed as I have been by this very informative set of posts.  Please keep Tim and his family in prayer as they are back in the States for a while and readjusting to life here.  Pray for their ministry in Paris, as well as their time back home!