Monday, January 11, 2010

missional fad

I like what Steve Addison has to say here regarding missional fad versus missional movements. I especially like point 6 - we have enough theorists, we're in need of fathers and grandfathers and arguably only the latter matter.

1. Missionaries without borders - Has anyone read the Matt 28:18-20 lately? You’re not a movement if you’re only interested in reaching your tribe.
2. Making disciples - Missionary movements teach the newest believers to follow Jesus in obedience. It begins with simple commands of Jesus like: repent and believe, be baptized, love one another, be generous, make disciples, celebrate the Lord’s supper. True discipleship always leads to church formation.
3. Paying their own way - Where’s the money coming from? Some denominations have millions of dollars to splash around for “missional initiatives” that are not sustainable. Missionary movements take responsibility to generate their own funds rather than remaining dependent on mom and dad.
4. Gospel faithfulness - Movements are not known for the vagueness when it comes to their message and mission. Putting a “missional” label on it may just be a smokescreen for the reality that we not sure anymore about what we really believe. Movements return to the heart of the gospel and at the same time find relevant and effective ways to make the gospel known in new contexts.
5. Vision validated by action - Movements turn dissatisfaction into vision, and vision into action. There was a time for critique and vision casting. That time is over. The emerging/missional groups that have a future are already implementing a positive agenda for making disciples.
6. Children and grandchildren. Everywhere. - This is everything. This is the end of the bigger vs smaller debate. You can be five or five thousand. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have descendants. Produce some great great grandchildren, and we might even call you a movement.
7. Out on the fringe - The breakthroughs always occur on the fringe. I’m not expecting to find leaders of dynamic movements in denominational bureaucracies, or theological seminaries, or on Christian television. Look for the leaders who follow the example of Jesus and Paul, and all the great movement leaders through the ages. They are close to the action. They hang out with people: preaching, teaching, healing, confronting, mobilizing, and pioneering.

And don't miss his thoughts of some gaps in the emerging church. He saw these four years ago and I think the gap has gotten larger over time. These are: "a loss of confidence in the gospel; a blurring of the distinction between the church and world; a redefining of mission away from evangelism towards social and political agendas."

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