Thursday, May 10, 2007

What does 'incarnational' and '614' mean?

Since moving to Thorncliffe Park we've talked alot to people about 'incarnational' ministry and the '614 network'. I like the word network as opposed to church, but that's another post. Well, just what does incarnational mean? John 1:14 describes it best:
The word became flesh and dwelt among us
The ethos of incarnational ministry is actually dwelling among the people you are ministering to. It is intensely and intentionally missional. I know it sounds basic but in today's North America Christianity we are quite used to driving to church and being somewhat disconnected from the community of people living around our place of worship.

The other aspect of the '614' model of incarnational ministry is intentionally moving into the bad parts of town. The numbers 6-1-4 come from Isaiah 61:4 where God says:
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
This involves moving towards ruined cities, not away from them. Towards dangerous places, now away from them. Towards devestated people, not away from them. Starting to get the picture?

So what does incarnational ministry look like on a day to day basis? Well for us, it looks like living in an apartment instead of a house. It looks like sending our kids to the big huge muslim dominated Thorncliffe public school instead of homeschooling or Christian school. It looks like being surrounded by our neighbours in the elevator, park, mall and school.

Last night it looked like a fire alarm at 10:30PM. A friends kitchen was on fire. 15 fire trucks. Water and smoke damage in their apartment. No place to stay. A phone call to another friend. A pull-out couch. Comfort.

May this incarnational model spread to everyone in every church. Think about where you live, where you could move to and what impact you could make if you were the Jesus that moved into their neighbourhood.

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