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A vida é simples


A vida é simples

The Starfish Manifesto by Wolfgang Simson

Let me start by saying that The Starfish Manifesto (press the link to download it) is not really a book. It's more like a draft of a book, with many parts that would (and probably should) be changed and cut before becoming a book. Which means it is not easy to read, and it is really long. Only the really interested soul will be able to finish it (like I did, and no one else I know was able to).

The Starfish Manifesto starts where Houses that Change the World stopped. It is focused mainly on the prophetic and apostolic gifts, and how the strategy of God to the discipling of the planet can operate through those gifts.

The book starts describing the roles of the prophet and of the apostle, and then how those roles work together for the envisioning of the strategy of the church, locally as well as globally. It finishes with some practical wisdom in how to make the jump. I identified a lot with what is written in the book, except with the financial principles.

This book, together with The Forgotten Ways, are at the moment, in my opinion, the ones that best describe the vision of God for the church of today. A organic, Christ-centered, Kingdom of God oriented, apostolic, missiological church.

What's a missionary?

Once I read in this article a very funny answer to this question. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read since I wasn't expecting it. But then the best jokes are allways done just after you say something serious enough.

Well, what's a missionary? And you can forget about searching the bible for it: It's not in the lists of gifts and no one is called a missionary there. So, where do you go to find out what a missionary is? Well, you have to dig deep into the church tradition. Or maybe not so deep...

The concept of mission is understood everywhere in the modern church. A missionary is someone that goes to another country to plant a church. That's the basic concept. We call that embrionic church a mission. So, if missionaries are church planters, who planted churches in the early church? Well, that was the work of an apostle. So, reason would lead you to believe that missionary = apostle... But that's not exactly so.

The apostle was sent by a church. A missionary is sent by a missionary organization. The apostle supported himself financialy most of the time, the missionay is fully funded by the missionary organization. The apostle empowered people to follow Christ as a community, while the missionary most of the times creates a leadership that ministers to the "laity". The apostle left the church early in its development, even before there were leaders assigned, and so the community was given room to grow on their own. On the other hand, the missionary stays in the church until a leadership is fully developed, and in many cases, becomes the main pastor of the church.

I believe it's time to consider this differences. Why did the apostles plant churches that didin't need their presence to grow? And why do modern missionaries plant churches that depend on the "clergy" so much? Until we can answer this questions properly, we'll never be able to make a difference.