04 August 2009

A Few Takes on “Being Missional”

I’ve been doing some research on what it means to be a missional church. Here are a few quotes I’ve come across while researching the topic that I think are worth considering.

“Churches throughout the Western world find themselves increasingly marginalized from society as they endeavor to relate the good news to people whose assumptions and attitudes have been shaped by modernity and postmodernity. Our post-Christian, neopagan, pluralistic North American context presents cross-cultural missionary challenges every bit as daunting as those we would face on any other continent.

Unfortunately most pastors and church leaders have had no missiological training. Consequently they resort to marketing strategies in place of missionary insights in their attempts to reach out to a population that is becoming increasingly distanced from the church.”

– Eddie Gibbs in Church Next: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry

“Since that time, the market machine has spun out many conflicting definitions of missional church. In general, these definitions share a sense that the church is not primarily about us, but about God's mission. But consensus breaks down over what God's mission is and what it means to participate in it.

For others, the missional impulse has been translated into a consumer-oriented mentality—again, an approach that the authors of Missional Church explicitly reject. Some pastors I know are being pressured with missional language to focus their preaching on felt needs. Thus, preaching on "How to Be a Better Spouse" or "How to Be Financially Successful" is considered missional, while preaching straight through a book of the Bible, a common Reformational practice, is seen as an old habit of Christendom. When our needs set the agenda, how can we learn to embody the gospel that is not just our story, but first and foremost God's? The seeker-sensitive mentality reflects a profoundly different ecclesiology from that of Missional Church, which claims that God's people need to rediscover the centrality of God's action in shaping our witness to the world.”

-J. Todd Billings “What Makes a Church Missional?”

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1 comment:

  1. Preaching on felt needs is surely preaching to the choir -- hardly "issional".