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The Incarnational Posture in Small Town USA

Luke Geraty

Luke Geraty

Pastor, Red Bluff Vineyard
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Calling all missional leaders! It is absolutely vital to God’s mission that your life embodies the incarnational kingdom-centered way of Jesus!

Yesterday I wrote a review for the Society of Vineyard Scholars on Michael Frost’s new book Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement (read the review here). It’s a fantastic book and one that I would highly recommend, especially for those of us interested in missional theology in the rural context. In fact, Frost’s book will naturally connect with the ethos of many rural communities because he wants to challenge the church to engage and connect well with people and communities. Frost asks an important question:

“How can we go down and deep into the cities and villages where God has placed us?… How can we adopt the posture, thinking, behavior and practices of an incarnational one to engage our communities meaningfully and for God’s glory?”

I am certainly interested in your answers to this question, so please share them in the comments. Frost’s answers are a good starting point, I think, for small town leaders. He makes four suggestions:

  1. Anthropologically (move in). How can we become more embedded in our communities? How can we become aware of the needs of a community if we’re not localized? As Frost writes, “moving into the neighborhood is essential.” 
  2. Emphatically (listen to them). Frost writes that “the church must adopt a posture of active listening, of attentiveness to the disenchantment of our neighbors, in order to know how to offer something more than the deathly, heartless, hedonistic world of secularism.” 
  3. Collaboratively (partner with them). Frost prophetically states that “if we truly take a kingdom approach to restoring our cities, we should be willing to partner with other churches businesses, city officials and social organizations to meet the needs of the city.” 
  4.  Sustainably (stay with them – for a long time). This suggestion really hits home for me. In small towns it takes time, as I’ve articulated over and over and over again, for the wheel to start turning and momentum to build. 

How would you answer Frost’s question? What would you recommend to go deeper in posture?

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About the author
Luke Geraty is a young budding pastor/theologian who serves at Trinity Christian Fellowship. Husband of one, father of five, and deeply committed to proclaiming Jesus and the kingdom, Luke contributes regularly to ThinkTheology.orgVineyardScholars.org, and Multiply Vineyard. Follow Luke on TwitterFacebook, or send him an email.

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