Mission Alive affirms the historic Christian faith as revealed through the Christian Scripture which we accept as authoritative. We acknowledge that all who share our historic Christian faith may have a variety of beliefs and practices as they each attempt to interpret the Scriptures. Further, we acknowledge that all Christian believers have additional beliefs, values, and convictions that shape life, faith, and ministry. Mission Alive seeks to partner with all believers who affirm the historic Christian faith as revealed through the Christian Scriptures and who desire to advance God’s Mission in the world.
Mission Alive also holds the following missional convictions which impact how and why we accomplish our mission.
GOD AND GOD’S MISSION
We in Mission Alive believe that God is a missionary God. He assumes the responsibility to cross the boundaries that separate divinity and humanity. While this is seen repeatedly throughout the Scriptures, we see God as a missionary clearest in the incarnation. Since Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit, God’s ongoing presence in the world, indwells and empowers God’s people to continue God’s mission.
God’s mission has been to fix everything broken in the world; God’s relationship with each human being, relationships between human beings and the relationship between each human and the whole of creation. This reconciling and redemptive work is the work into which God invites all of God’s people.
The Gospel is the message that through Jesus, God has finally dealt with all the forces within us (sin) and outside of us (evil) that draw us away from God and that through Jesus, God’s reign is breaking into the world. The effect of God’s reign in the world is that all people are being restored and reconciled to one another and to God and the whole world is being made new and right.
THE POOR & MARGINALIZED
From the beginning, God has paid special attention to the poor and those marginalized from the dominant culture. Furthermore, God has encouraged God’s people to pay them special attention as well. God desires to replace the burdens and challenges of living at the margins of any society with shalom and wholeness that comes through having a reconciled relationship with Him.
We also believe that the Church should lead in standing with the poor and marginalized, giving voice to their concerns and needs. Throughout history, the church has led the way in addressing all manners of social problems; orphans, widows, slaves, the sick, the unemployed, child laborers, etc. Because of this, Mission Alive places additional importance to starting churches in and for marginalized populations.
All people are disconnected from God to some degree. Some have accepted God’s invitation to reconnect with Him through Jesus and live their lives pursuing an ever-deeper relationship with Him. Others have yet to accept God’s invitation. The Mission of God is to help those who bear God’s Image reconnect with Him. It is to them that Mission Alive is dedicated
INCARNATION, CONTEXTUALIZATION & INNOVATION
The church is the ongoing incarnation of God in the world – that as the Body of Christ, the church embodies God’s character, wisdom, and mission. As God became incarnate in Jesus, each culture and generation of the church must reimagine what the Gospel looks like when embodied in its own time and place.
That means that the church is always reforming to manifest the presence of God effectively in each succeeding generation and in each new place. This ongoing act of reforming the church (called contextualization) requires the church to reimagine how to represent the eternal Good News in fresh and creative ways so that people can hear it clearly. Like the Apostle Paul, the church must, “become all things to all people so that by all possible means we might save some.” We in Mission Alive value leaders who have the capacity to imagine afresh how to embody the Kingdom of God in the world. As a result, Mission Alive’s training is not model specific but rather context specific, encouraging missionaries to identify practices that fit their context rather than perpetuating a predetermined model of ministry.
God loves all people and all people are possessors of the divine image. Furthermore, because every person, regardless of their culture, ethnicity, national origin, age, lifestyle, gender, etc. possesses the divine image, the church must value them in their diversity. Because of this, Mission Alive prioritizes partnerships that promote unity across social and cultural categories.
The core ministry of the people of God is to facilitate and promote an ever-deepening relationship with God. While this may happen through passive participation in worship gatherings, Bible studies, etc., structures and processes of intentional discipleship helps the local church grow in spiritual depth and breadth. So, Mission Alive places a high value on developing intentional discipleship practices in the local church.
DISCERNMENT & PRAYER
The Holy Spirit is the primary missionary agent at work through the people of God. Our knowledge, strength, and ingenuity to undertake God’s mission comes from both the Christian Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. This makes prayer of central importance in the life of a Christian leader. It is in prayer that we discern God’s action and leading. It is in prayer that we align ourselves with God’s mission. It is in prayer that we gain sober judgments of our own character and competence. Because of this, Mission Alive places a high value on the prayer life of the leader whether he or she is starting a church or leading an established church.
ACTION & INTENTIONALITY
Spiritual growth is the fruit of faithful action. Once a Christian listens to God through practices of spiritual discernment (see above), conversation, Bible reading, etc., he or she must follow that with action. It is through that action that God works to achieve God’s mission. Growth in the individual, group or church is not achieved by thinking new thoughts, having deeper understandings or even more robust belief. Growth happens when those thoughts, understandings, beliefs, etc. are acted upon. For this reason, Mission Alive places a high value on taking action to fulfill what discernment has revealed.
The role of the Christian leader is intrinsically self-sacrificial. In the spirit of Philippians 2:5-11, leaders are to imitate Christ and pour themselves out (kenosis) for the sake of others. The very nature of kenotic leadership is counter-cultural, certainly in North America. Kenotic leaders empty themselves of their rights, claims, position, and needs for the sake of others whether others are fellow church members, neighbors, politicians, immigrants, minorities, or whomever. Mission Alive rejects Christian leadership that aims to inflate the leader or make the leader an indispensable part of a local church. Rather, Mission Alive trains leaders to become the equippers of others so that they may be used in God’s mission since all disciples of Jesus are called and gifted for service in God’s mission.
REPRODUCTION & HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Woven into the nature of creation is the principle that healthy life reproduces. In God’s mission, the healthy spiritual life of a disciple reproduces into the lives of others. Healthy leaders raise up new leaders, equip them for leadership and step out of the way. Healthy churches give birth to new churches; both locally and globally. Reproduction does not imply replication (i.e. children are not exact replicas of their parents) but giving birth to something that has yet to exist. In this way, God’s mission is an ongoing expression of creation. So, Mission Alive trains disciples, leaders, and churches to pursue reproduction at all levels of God’s mission.
THEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Beyond our historic Christian faith and our Missional Convictions, Mission Alive does not affirm nor reject the doctrines or practices of local churches including those whose leader(s) train with Mission Alive. As an assessing and equipping ministry, we do not assume the responsibility of assuring that all churches with which we work hold particular doctrinal or theological positions.
Mission Alive is not a denominational authority. It is not an ordaining or authorizing agency. Nor is it an association held together by shared theology. Churches in the Mission Alive Network have different theologies and practices. A shared commitment to the historic Christian faith and God’s Mission in the world holds Mission Alive together while acknowledging that no church embodies them perfectly or completely. For the sake of God’s Mission in the world, we choose to embrace one another in spite of our doctrinal, theological, and practical differences.