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mobilisation 1 246Mobilising missional disciples - 1

From an interview by Exponential

Following on from interest in the articles, Repositioning church as a mission agency and The Underground, I listened in to an interview with Jon Ritner who heads up a missional community in Hollywood, California.

Jon's father was a preacher and when Jon went to college, he lived with seven Christians and they were basically a kind of a missional community before that language was ever used. They were trying to live out the life of Jesus in a space that really didn't seem to be interested in Jesus. He eventually felt the call to pastoral ministry, attended seminary and spent 10 years working at a church that went from 400 to about 3000 in Williamsburg, Virginia, having every role on staff there.

He became the executive pastor, number two guy, and really got to be blessed and excited to see everything the church leader in America was dreaming of at that time, which is growth - more people, more buildings, more sizes, more resources. And then he had his own reckoning, "I'm not sure actually that this is everything I wanted. I'm not sure it's what we even should be doing and the way we're doing it maybe is not as life-giving to me and to others as I thought."

And so Jon and his family decided to step back from that and go to Brussels, Belgium and engage with post-Christian European secular culture and see how the church was adapting to that. They experimented in Brussels with an organisation called Communitas International and helped plant churches within the city there. They had a small network of micro churches called The Well, and then a non-profit called Serve the City that they used as their outward facing arm that allowed them to engage with the city in acts of service and blessing.

After three years Jon felt the call to come back to America and start to apply what he'd learned to shifting an attractional, Sunday-centric professional led church into more of a seven day people movement of God, where every disciple was feeling the call to make disciples in the ordinary spaces of life.

He joined a church called Ecclesia which was in that same transition themselves, moving away from the big Sunday platform, the big theatre, the big charismatic personality, the big experience, and trying to think more about how to be an outward facing community that was serving the tremendous needs of the city of Hollywood, California.

The second part is here.

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From an interview by Exponential, 19/10/2021

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