“Present Future” – Recap of Chapter 3
The church has largely prevented people from being “missional” by getting them to spend their time doing church work that props up the institution for the sake of the club. We need to help people be on mission with God where they are or where they are going, which may mean we give them less church work to do (which is really true church work:)
THE WORD “MISSIONAL”
I expressed that I have reservations, as did others, over the use of the word “missional.” I am afraid that it muddies the water for the historical and right understanding of what it means to be a missionary, which is going cross-cultural as described by Acts 1:8. Is it possible that taking Jesus to other ethnic groups and engaging their culture could be down-played because people think they are missionaries where they are. Perhaps this is just an issue of education about missions and missional, but perhaps there is a better term.
This begs another question though. Is it necessary to coin terms to inform the culture we want to create in advancing the gospel where we are? Do we need “buzz words” that help articulate what needs to happen that don’t have the “church baggage” that prevent us from communicating effectively about what God would have us do? Are evangelism and outreach helpful and persuasive vehicles of meaning or do they sound like a program or an event that we have championed in the past and have not produced the results that were promised? If we were going to put five values on the wall, would “missional” be helpful or would evangelism or outreach?
I suggested that McNeil in his critique of Modernity and Post-Modernity created the false dichotomy that we are either head Christians or heart Christians. He asserted that Christians with a modern mind-set are on a head-trip (I am not denying that this is true in some cases). I ask though, is it one or the other? Why so often in Christianity do we see it is as Theology verses Obedience? Or why do we see at as heart verses mind? Why do we hear statements like, “He was more interested in obedience than he was theology?” Or “This time I’m going to let my heart defeat my mind.” From a popular Christian song that apparently asserts the mind is an obstacle to obeying God? Should it not be both. Shouldn’t we love God with all of our being? Shouldn’t good and sound theology drive us to love God and others and protect us from all sorts of error? I digress. Here is a video that articulates in a positive sense what I am getting at. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDr_4Njb0nY
We were going a long and finally got to the end of the chapter and thought we had some solutions or suggestions that we could implement and Tyson chimed in and suggested that McNeil was asking us to do the very thing he had been suggesting we steer away from. It seems we ought to be careful that we don’t do away with one program or event only to erect other programs and events that distract us from being on mission with God where we are. How then do we go to those who aren’t coming to us without creating an event or program?
I suppose that’s why they are tough questions.
Please feel free to comment or add to the discussion. I really have enjoyed the lively conversation we have had and hope that as we talk through this we can continue to do it in a way that displays we all really want the same thing, which is to be a part of taking Jesus to a changing world.