The beginning of 2015 marked a decade since I completed my PhD at the University of Wales, Cardiff (UK) in 2004. The dissertation was entitled Transforming Mission in Post Communist Context, Towards an Integrative Approach. Agnieszka called my dissertation “our first baby”, since it took alot of work and many sleepless nights!
Now, a decade later, it is exciting to look back at the main ideas I presented in my doctoral thesis and how we, as a couple, have put them into practice in our ministry.
I am a practical theologian, but also a practitioner – as a pastor, teacher, conference speaker, mentor and Christian coach, I am involved in various forms of leadership.
A particularly significant aspect of the Eastern European missional challenge is that of “hearing’ and understanding stories” of contemporary people. However, it is not just about “hearing and understanding”, but also seeking new ways of missional interaction with these stories within broadly understood Christian community life.
As I look at the chapter headings of my thesis, I see the vision that set us on our journey. Some ideals are dear to us, and we stand amazed in God’s presence that we have the privilege of fulfilling these important principles throughout our ministry.
After a decade, Missional Church in Post-Communist context is still composed of three important elements: Community of Love, Community of Word & Life, and Community of Transformation.
After a decade, Missional Church in Post-Communist context is still composed of three important elements:
Community of Love | Community of Word & Life | Community of Transformation
Community of Love
Community of Love is expressed in its emphasis on freedom and the power of reconciliation. As father Jozel Tischner, famous priest involved in the Solidarity movement put it, “Grace of faith is grace of liberation.”
To enter the world of faith, one needs to go through the “gate of freedom”. What is deeply needed in a Post-Communist context then is a renewed consciousness of grace, which truly overcomes evil.
This kind of grace revolutionized our lives. Both Agnieszka and I experienced it powerfully. It also gave birth to our ministry. Our hearts’ desires is to create communities of grace wherever we are. We are privileged to see many leaders’ lives being transformed by this approach more than ever before. We implement this missional challenge by coaching leaders individually and also in our workshops, conferences and publications.
Community of Word and Life
Community of Word and Life is basically the expression of practicing what we preach. Christian life is not just about words and knowledge, but about living out what we believe.
This is what truly makes a difference in the world: when we start living out of who God says we are, instead of our own effort.
The Christian community draws its self-understanding from the Gospel. Therefore, the right understanding and personal experience of the Good News are crucial to effectively witness to the world.
The biblical language of salvation points to ‘new life, wholeness, reconciliation and healing’. Once we start living these principles out on the basis of the whole Gospel rooted in a deep, life-transforming relationship with God, we naturally share this with others in the world.
It means that we are committed to an authentic lifestyle and allow God to meet us in our vulnerability and minister in and through us. Therefore, through our Pastors2Pastors ministry, we have developed various workshops and serve local churches and their leaders, bringing inspiration for that kind of spiritual engagement.
Community of Transformation
Community of Transformation means that our mission is not just about the proclamation of the Gospel, but also a practical demonstration of the Gospel’s power in all areas of our life.
In other words, mission is never limited just to a verbal proclamation or spiritual activism. According to Jesus, a right relationship with God cannot be separated from a right relationship with others.
It is not that evangelism and social involvement are simply to be done alongside each other. Rather, as a Community of Transformation, we understand that our proclamation of the Gospel has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life.
In other words, God’s vision for our lives is not just limited to our “church life’” but it embraces our whole life – family, work, relationships, entertainment, etc. It is only when we allow God to work in all of those areas that we may be able to experience a deeper transformation and see lasting impact around us.
This is the area where God has been at work in our lives and ministry over the last few years, stretching our vision. As you know, we started our ministry with a focus on pastors and their wives. Today, we also work with other church leaders involved in the marketplace and see more and more spiritual impact there.
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