By: Alan Hirsch In The Forgotten Ways I have tried to get under the hood of movements that end up changing their world. What are the key factors that are needed to come together to create an accelerating Jesus movement? In that book I suggest that there are six elements (I call them movementDNA or mDNA) that must coalesce to create the dynamic operating system that reverberates through the movements that change the world. In that system I place the confession that “Jesus is Lord!” as the central, defining mDNA because it is the element that shapes and informs all the others.
I choose the phrase not only because it is the distinguishing confession that has defined the authentic Christianity throughout history, but mainly because it carries a huge amount of theological and missional code. In fact it is a worldview in three words! It is what I call “simplex”—simple enough for an uneducated peasant to be able get it; and yet complex enough to test the deepest reflection of our best theologians. This simplex nature of the slogan is what makes it inherently viral. Jesus is Lord! is weighty message that is also eminently “sneezable”. It is a slogan fit for movements that can change the world.
Paradigm to Practice
So, let me explain for a moment what this might look like and why our team at 100M is focusing so much time and energy training churches beyond these paradigms to helpful practices. While I have spent the last decade talking about the core ideas of mDNA, I am now giving my life to an important shift. A paradigm has been awakened, but now there is a screaming need for practical tools and walkable pathways for church leaders to gain the competencies of movement. In short, I am moving from concept awakening to competency acquisition; from paradigm to practice.
What does this look like when it comes to "Jesus as Lord?" It's an important mDNA element to start with because it's the easiest one with which to achieve quick assent intellectually without any breakthrough in practice.
So what does practicing Jesus is Lord look like as a movement competency? We call it "Identity Declaring". Its the practice of connecting each leader in your church, on an emotional level, to the shared vocabulary of your unique disciple-making mission and vision. It's about a community that knows the critical minimum standard of what, why, and how every part of the church champions, protects, and advances the reality of Jesus is Lord.
For example, Kensington community church attended Future Travelers and responded amazingly well to the paradigm of movement. But in the last 12 months they did the hard work of revisiting and re-declaring their identity. One year ago if you would have asked the 1000 lay leaders what the mission of the church was, the responses would have been random at best. Today they would respond in harmony: “to see every[one] transformed and mobilized by Jesus”. In addition they have developed disciple-making values, measures of disciple-making success and a crystal clear disciple-making strategy. They no longer traffic people through church programs without clarifying and managing a clear "Jesus is Lord" declaration in the daily reality of church life. Everyone is becoming more connected to the deepest meaning of why the church exists. You simply can't do this without the shared vocabulary.
To help achieve a dramatic shift in practice with Jesus is Lord, Will Mancini leads this competency track of mDNA at 100M. He has spent the last 15 years of his life creating pathway and tools for identity declaring using a simple and powerful tool called the Vision Frame. And most importantly we have spent over 2 years together prepping for Leap Year in order to deliver the best “Identity Declaring” track ever designed.
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