If you haven’t already heard about MissioLife, this is your introduction. Chris Folmsbee, along with a team of leaders who care about spiritual formation and local church and children and young adults and adult small groups — for both the individual and for the local church, have now developed MissioLife as a new digital small group/church resource. It is designed to lead each person and local churches from non-Bible readers to Bible literacy. But the genius of MissioLife does not stop at literacy, or knowledge of what the Bible says. No, MissioLife leads from literacy to intimacy with God and to intimacy with others and to intimacy with the world.
You can download, free of charge, some modules from the link in this paragraph to see just how solid, creative, and practical MissioLife is. This is a big project: each year of the MissioLife resource has six 6-week downloaded modules, and it is best for Sunday School classes and especially small groups. Each year takes us from Story to living the Story in our world in practical ways, both as individuals and as groups. Year One is about The God of Life, the Story of God’s Redeeming Shalom. I’ve been through it; I love it. (There will be four years in the MissioLife resource.)
What we have in MissioLife is a Bible Story approach to small groups, spiritual formation, and how the Christian lives today.
Small groups … just saying that evokes a spectrum of responses, and we are doing a series on small groups right now. But I sense that too many churches have explored the laissez faire approach (do whatever you want) and the total control approach (do what we tell you, how we tell you, and when we tell you). This MissioLife small group resource is different: there is really solid biblical and theological content. It’s all about Scriptures and the Story of God; this is a prima scriptura small group resource. But MissioLife is designed for a small group to be integrated with the whole church so that small groups don’t just branch out on their own. MissioLife leads a whole church to integrate a whole church into the Story of God’s mission in this world. Sound like a resource your church might need? Check out MissioLife.
In my judgment, this is the finest small group resource that exists in the church today. There are components for children, for youth and for adults. It is whole-church with the holistic mission of God in this world. It is MissioLife. Tested and improved through small group experience, MissioLife is the most exciting small group resource I’ve seen. Let me say it in terms of the King Jesus gospel I’ve been talking about here: the MissioLife leans us into the ordered existence under Jesus as King, Lord and Savior.
How so? The whole of MissioLife is rooted in the Story of the Bible, so MissioLife is biblically-centered. The Story leads us to who God is, our relationship to God, and what God is doing in this world so that we can come to know God and then join in what the mission of God is in this world.
This Story gives rise to a theology that moves us toward living out God’s mission in this world. You will not get lost in theological speculation. Instead, a Story-shaped theology forms us to become a missional people.
MissioLife takes us then to the next level: our identity and our calling. Knowing is one thing; literacy is one thing — but the intimacy of knowing the God of this Story and the intimacy of knowing who we are (and what we are called to be and do in this world) shapes the whole of MissioLife. All of MissioLife is designed for the local church, for a small group and also for the individual level.
When the Bible’s Story shapes our identity and forms our calling, we develop a MissioLife kind of “way of life.” Our morning, our day, our evening and our night becomes shaped by God’s mission. Our personal life, our family life, our church life and our public life — each of them becomes integrated into the mission of God.
Story, theology, identity/calling, way of life … each of these leads to behaviors and expressions. Too often we get to the behaviors and to the expressions before we’ve rooted Christian behaviors and expressions in the Story of God and the mission of God — and MissioLife leads us from Story to concrete living in the world today.
But this all begins when we not only emphasize Bible reading but when we move from such a Bible literacy into intimacy. MissioLife is not one of those “here’s what the Bible says” small group guides. MissioLife plunges small groups and churches into the Story, a Story that is shaped by the mission of God in this world, and then raises us up to a missional life in this world — for kids, for young adults, and for the whole local church.