In Search of Better Stories

Leading Kingdom Movements

For Mike Breen, the church is a spiritual family on mission together. According to him, this is the clear picture of the early church. It was a family that was radically committed to each other in all aspects of life. If someone had a problem, they all had a problem. This is how the church should be understood today.

What about the gathering?  “Public space” as Breen calls it, exists to remind spiritual families on mission together of the story that they are a part of, the “meta-narrative” that drives their life. This part of the church is very important. Breen illustrates by saying if the missional communities are torches, they need to regularly gather in a big bonfire to reignite their passion. Torches don’t stay burning forever.

Breen believes that if kingdom movements are going to sustain then they must not be built in such a way as to require leaders and events with endless amounts of training and endless amounts of energy, resources, and money. Breen suggests that movements built on large-scale ventures and amazing charismatic leaders are not sustainable or scalable.

What is sustainable is having people who know how to invest their lives in others, people who disciple others to disciple others, and who create lightweight and low maintenance vehicles for discipleship and mission. He makes the case that this is the principal way the Holy Spirit has created movemental change.

One of the challenges of a sent, outward focusing, low budget, spread out kind of vision, is that missional communities can lose “spiritual mass” as they continue to divide and fan out. The key to preventing this is to develop orbital patterns in which community leaders regularly orbit back into each other’s lives, their sending group, and other spheres of spiritual influence.

His primary appeal is for the development of passionate spirituality, radical community, and missional zeal in the lives of each follower of Jesus. In the end, he gives no prescriptive way to lead a kingdom movement. He ends the book how he started it by asking the question “What is God saying and what am I going to do about it?” In Mikes story it meant he was to carry an actual wooden cross around Sheffield where he was a minister.  It was through this odd start that the 3DM movement began.

I was not captivated by this book, even though much of what it says I wholeheartedly agree with. Perhaps it was the meandering writing style, goofy drawings and over alliterated outlines? I guess I am not sure, it might have been the lack of actual individual stories. The book basically said “This is how it happened, loads and loads of people came to faith, and this is what you need to know.” What I want to know about is the individual stories. Who turned to follow Jesus? What happened? This book didn’t take the time for that.

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