A Conversation with Mike Breen

Mar 27

Some of the leaders from Gateway Church in Austin met up with Mike Breen and of his leaders from their days in the U.K.. From his bio: Mike was the Senior Rector at St. Thomas Sheffield, look where they pioneered some very different ways of being the church and when they left they were the largest church in England. Today, he leads 3DM, the global home for an organic movement of biblical discipleship and missional church that is centered in the United States.” Mike is the author of the following books:

Here are some of the insights he shared with us:

Two Questions for Disciples:

  1. What is God saying to you?
  2. What are you going to do about it?

A great Western fallacy is that someone can pass from information to innovation without first passing through imitation. Most Westerners have been more influenced by the Enlightenment than the Reformation.

As the message of Jesus moved beyond the Jewish context into the Gentile world, the relationships went from being described as “rabbi and disciple” to “parent and child.” (For example, see 1 Corinthians 4:14-17).

  • Information – The guardian would teach the children reading, writing, and arithmetic (the¬†pedagogical essentials).
  • Imitation – The son spent time with his father to learn the family business. The daughter spent time with her mother to learn how to care for the oikos (family, neighbors, friends).
  • Innovation -Once someone has the basics, they can go to a new town and contextualize their craft.

The Four Human Spaces:

  • Intimate – 2 to 3 people
  • Personal – 6 to 12 people
  • Social -20-70 people
  • Public – 70+

The social space is crucial because it is within the social space that the intimate and personal spaces take place. In the Western world we have lost our extended family and put all of our hopes into the nuclear family which has failed.

Small groups are small enough to care but aren’t big enough to dare.

There is no word for “nuclear family” in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. The word “family” always means extended family.

Jesus spend time with the Father on His own (up), spent time with His disciples (in), and spent time with the crowds (out). At the beginning, Mike encouraged his small groups to get out of the room where they were meeting and walk around the community where they meet and pray for the community (like caroling for mimes). A few people asked them what they were doing and they said: “praying for our community.” Some were impressed by that. The next time they went into the shops and to the homes and asked what they could be praying for. This follows what Jesus did with His disciples in Matthew 10. Once needs were discovered, the small group began to meet those needs in addition to praying for the community.

When asked to describe what he sensed God was calling the worship team to do, the worship pastor at St. Thomas in Sheffield said: “We want to be the welcomers of the unwelcome.”

The network leader needs to be the vision carrier for the mission.

 

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