In yesterday’s post I said that Reformed spirituality can make a unique contribution to missional discipleship. Missional discipleship is a way of being apprenticed to Jesus that manifests a healthy rhythm of contemplation and action–inward and outward engagement–in service of the mission of God in the world. After all, as I mentioned yesterday, John Calvin didn’t so much denounce the spirituality of the monastics as he sought to democratize it by bringing it to all Christians.
Reformed spirituality can make some unique contributions to missional discipleship in several ways:
-It’s emphasis on the priesthood of all believers. Each believer is, through the mediating work of Jesus, able to approach God. Each believer is gifted with the Holy Spirit in order to both convict of sin and empower for ministry. As a result each believer is a minister, a missionary sent to do the work of the kingdom in all of life. By this I mean that all Christians are able to participate in the mission of God in the world–the advancing of the kingdom of God and the restoration of fallen created order. We minister in different ways, but we all minister–we are all agents of reconciliation bearing witness to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
-It’s emphasis on the Pastor-Teacher as practical theologian. Reformed churches value the role of the pastor as a theological guide who both shapes the mind and connects that which is learned to the heart through practices–lived theology. The Reformed pastors is not simply a therapist who practices unconditional positive regard, he is a coach who points parishioners to the Gospel repeatedly but uses different words and different approaches at different time. She is not simply a lecturer in theology, but a shepherd who helps Christians to follow Christ faithfully in every season of life as guided by the Scriptures.
-It’s emphasis on exodus as a theological theme that undergirds the church’s identity.
For Calvinists, the church is an elect community who is abroad in the world for the purpose of following God and bearing witness to the reality that God’s grace and God’s love is more powerful than our sin we than our will. If missional is about being present in the culture rather than withdrawing from culture, the Reformed churches have a sense of being called into (and subsequently out of) a strange land that worships foreign Gods.