I am intensely interested in how “being the church” – in terms of a set of certain practices – enables the church to participate in God’s Mission in the world. I’m worried (probably too much) that in the process of de-institutionizing the church, we lose the wherewithal in Christ to be shaped for and into His Mission. So, for me, I believe we need conversations around the many key ideas that form the missional conversation in our day.
This is why I am glad to participate in Ed Stetzer’s new effort at creating a conversation around the core issues of “Missional Church.” Starting next Monday, and then for several Mondays thereafter, Ed Stetzer will be addressing a “big idea” in the missional conversation. The bloggers below (inlcuding myself) will be addressing it as well. A syncronized conversation will then hopefully unfold across blogland leading to significant input inthe Missional Manifesto to be rolled out at the Mission Shift conference this summer.
Today’s post kicks this new syncroblog off (See below). I’m priviledged to be quoted in the opening post (just so you know I am not quoting myself eh?). I’m priviledged to be among this fine company of bloggers as well. I’m looking forward to where this goes. I invite you to chime in every Monday. Join us and Ed in this endeavor.
NOW TO THAT KICK OFF POST – HERE WE GO ….
David Fitch once said that most missional thought leaders “emphasize incarnational forms of church over attractional; the church as Missio Dei over mission as program; organic forms of missionary living in neighborhoods over ministry set in a building.” Yet many others seem to add the term to the current program they are attempting to promote or make cool sounding. As Ed Stetzer noted, “The word missional is used to bludgeon legalism and antinomianism alike. To some it is a sign of freedom from all established forms of the church and to others it is a degeneration into syncretism with the world.”
So, do we abandon the term and move on? Not yet, because the concept behind missional is really big and words help us when we can agree on their definitions— or at least we can agree what we mean when we use a word.
Over the next few weeks, we want to discuss how “missional” happens in our lives and in the life of the church. It will be discussed here as well as at other places including the blogs listed below. As the conversation moves forward, we hope you will move from blog to blog and offer insights from the scriptures and how you see missional happening in your local community.
By doing this, we can all be a part of a specific missional conversation. As many of you know, there are several working toward a “Missional Manifesto” that will be rolled out as a part of the missionSHIFT conference on July 12-15. The intent with the manifesto is to say, “This is what we mean when we talk about being missional.” It is not the manifesto’s intent (or within its ability) to say this is what everyone should think or say about the term, but reflects a hope that it will help us all be clearer and more mission-shaped in our own thinking and practice.
Conversation on the grassroots level is important, so be sure to join in here and at the other blogs and let’s see where God take us. Here is the team that will be leading the conversation:
Rick Meigs: The Blind Beggar
Bill Kinnon: kinnon.tv
Brent Toderash (Brother Maynard): Subversive Influence
David Fitch: Reclaiming the Mission
Jared Wilson: The Gospel-Driven Church
Jonathan Dodson: Creation Project
So for the sake of conversation today, leave a comment about with your own 1-sentence definition of “missional.” And, in the weeks to come, we will be addressing certain points or issues in the missional conversation that need consideration and perhaps clarity.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
3. Share your story.
One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.