Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Missional - Do you agree or Disagree?

Came across these 2 articles today:

Old Church Model 'Killing the West'

New Wine, New Wineskins

Do You agree? What point does Len make that you find most compelling?

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Webb Kline said...

Sweet said:[And during his seminary time, preaching was about making the Scriptures come alive, said Sweet. Now, Christians must come alive to the Scriptures.]

Jerry, that's one of the best definitions of the difference between traditional and missional that I have heard yet. Thanks for sharing.

MickyMcB said...

I am afraid that wrapping nouns like missional, incarnational, etc. which are now becoming popular to say (in some circles) just serve to make the institution we call church “new and improved”. Sure it’s somewhat better than attractional and colonial, but its just more descriptive nouns of an institution.

And the Church was never meant to be an institution or a noun. The Church was meant to be a verb that describes the action of a community of people in their relationship to each other and to the rest of the world.

One of the best concepts I haveever heard compared the community of believers as being in proximity to a well rather than bounded by a fence (see The Shaping of Things to Come). In the western united states (I am told) ranchers cant afford to fence in all their livestock so they organize their livestock (sheep?) around a source of water and that source of water is what keeps the livestock in proximity to the place they belong. There is no inside or outside as with a fenced in group of livestock, but rather varying degrees of proximity to the well.

If Jesus is the Living Water, then we are all defined not by our being inside our outside of the club (even the latest, coolest most relevant model), but as being in some varying proximity to the Source of the Water. There is no more inside or outside. Rather there is only proximity where those of you closer to and more recently refreshed by the Living Water are helping the Source of the Water lead those further away, into a closer proximity to the Source.

Note, too, that this allows for acceptance of the reality of varying degrees of proximity to the Source. With the fence model, you are forced to pretend that your life, your heart and your behavior are always consistently within the guidelines that allow you to stay within the fence. The Living Well model accepts the truth that we all will roam, though hopefully the distance of roaming will become smaller and smaller overtime. Yet even if it doesn’t, the idea is to keep the path to the well open and available and also to contiunallly allow our refreshed-ness be a light that draws people to or back to the Well.

In this Well model, then, Church is a verb because we are action (both drawing and being drawn) and all of this action is both based around and supported solely by the Living Water. It is not a noun that describes us a distinct from other nouns but rather a verb that describes the way we act with one another (missional?).

On the other hand when we merely start talking of the church in terms of more nouns, be they the new and improved nouns or the derogatory nouns describing models we no longer ascribe to, we start putting up fences and causing fragmentation where God intended a wholeness.

This idea, the de-institutionalizes, the verbifying of the Church, impacts the way we live our lives outside of Sunday and our visits to the institution and forces us to end the fragmentation between our holy lives and our secular lives, but that is a whole nother rant, with which I will fill up someone else’s blog :) … sorry Jerry for doing that here… blame Webb… he pointed me to your post :)

BlindBeggar said...

Jerry: Great reads. Thanks for the links.

Missional Jerry said...

Micky I agree

Ive written on Shaping some as well

and think the well is the perfect example of what church should be

the problem we have tho is: Our choice is to blow church up and start over (aint gonna happen way to much invested) or work at some reform

Im split between the 2: start lots of new stuff - drag people of like mind together and go a different way AND reform as much of the old church as possible

redeeming the IC is a goal the church needs to have

thanks for the comments

Webb Kline said...

There's nothing I want more than to see IC rejuvenated, but I am pretty convinced the only way it will happen is if they are led there by example. There is just too much that stands on the way, and to change that drastically means division and infighting--none of which are God's will. Sure there will be exceptions, but most congregations of existing churches will fight tooth and nail over the changes necessary for them to embrace the kind of change we're looking at.

I guess its that old puritan/separatist argument all over again. The Puritans never succeeded in purifying from within, nor did the separatists win them over to their ways. The difference now though, might be that some of us are determined not to re-invent the wheel.

One thing that I grow more and more convinced of all the time is that we cannot re-invent the wheel if missional is going to succeed. I read a lot of blogs on here with a lot of passion for missional, but very few that have the clear vision to go beyond where we've come from in our traditional churches. It's not easy. Everyone of us will stumble. But, beware of the temptation to become an attraction. That model will never lead us out of Egypt.