What does it mean to be the missional Church within the culture of Fiji? Every culture has a different expression of what it means to be missional and what it means to be the Church? The role of the missionary is not to make Fijians into Americans that read Jack Hayford and Craig Keener.
A missional church is a visible community of authentic disciples of Jesus Christ who gather for celebration, prayer and teaching and then disperse locally and globally as His missionaries to love and serve people. (Ed Stetzer)
A church on mission is always taking ground for the Kingdom of God and destroying the works of darkness in their cultural and geographical area. A missional church is an evangelistic church but it is much more.
It is the church of Jesus Christ operating in its very essence and identity to be light to the nations and by default light the nations (thus, where we get the name!). It is the cultural context for “ends of the earth.” When the local assembly becomes expression of God’s story, every village on every island will hear of the Savior and see the power of God.
Missional means Driven
It is when Fijians do not just see missions as the trip to Tuvulu or Kirabati but it is bringing the gospel to the people that they do business with at the open market. It is loving the neighbor, the town drunk, and the bus driver with the love of Jesus. It is bring the same passion for souls that we have in the Kingdom of Tonga to the villages of Fiji. Taking the gospel to the hurting day in and day out within cultural understanding is being driven by mission.
In the midst of fear and every form of darkness, there is a call upon the believer to walk in the light and faith of the gospel to destroy the works of evil in people they encounter in daily living. For someone, it might be disclining the lady at the bread shop while getting the daily bread for her family. For another, it is the co-worker than we works with on the roads. The vision of the missional church to be the people of God’s presence with or without a microphone.
In missiology, there is two models. One is the megachurch emphasis that says “come and see.” The other model is the missional model that says, “go and tell.” The focus is doing church right where people gather and serve them. It is about making them radical followers of Jesus, not inviting them to a church services.
In rural Fiji, this requires a lot of sitting in people’s homes talking about Jesus while drinking tea and “spoiling” (joking around). It is building relationships for the purpose of bringing them into Christ, not trying to invite them to church. The focus of being on mission changes the goal of the believer. This is paradigm shifting for most people, Fijian, Indian or white guy.
For far too long, we have been loyal to the political, social and economical structures of our culture and bend the gospel to them instead of calling the systems of this world into the gospel. Many time, we try and get “our guy” in power and if we get enough “believers” in office, we can Christianize the society. This does not work in Fiji (or America for that matter) The problem is this is not being missional. Our role is to reach the men and women in office with the hope of glory, Christ in us. No matter how curropt they are, they are loved by Jesus.
Social issues are missional opportunities. In Fiji, it is up to 1 in 40 citizens have a form of autism. 1 in 9 have a form of disability. 1 in 400 have had a stroke. Up to 1 in 2 Fijians live in poverty. The numbers are mind blowing and are only growing with the political changing happening in the last year. How does the church engage the people that are poor and hurting with the gospel that brings hope and faith to them?
The ecomonical structure is not set for the poor. Many of them make less than $2 USD an hour and some of them are feeding a family of 10 on very little. However, the hope of Jesus can supernaturally provide for them. However, a gospel not hear is a gospel not recieved. As Reinhard Bonnke would say, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”
Following the Apostles
The early church did not have buildings, mailing list, television shows and such but they flipped the world upside down. (Acts 17:6) So how was the early church missional?
- They prayed together.
- They had fellowship together.
- They had meals together.
- They saw miracles together.
- They loved together.
- They grew together.
Everything that the apostles did, they were a people, a company of believers without any building or ministries on the streets, in the villages and in the public square talking about what Jesus had done over meals and as they did business with shop owners.
The same model is what brings the people of Fiji to Jesus. It is loving people and changing lives. Seeing them become less like the world and more like their Lord. That’s the focus of the Kingdom in our lives, midst and on the earth.
This is the biblical way and this is the model that has worked through history. Some of the greatest advances in Church history is when people became missionaries to their own people giving their for the cause of Christ even if martyrdom was the result.
The vision of the churches in Fiji must turn to being the light of the nation, the salt of the earth and the city on a hill. It must call people to Jesus and from the works of sin and in doing so, it will be a faithful witness to the ends of the earth.