I came across this post on Google+ on a blog that I’ve never come across before. It sounds a lot like “Get the Message Right, Missouri .. Get the Message out, Missouri”. This talks about a lot of what I’ve been hearing — by being Missional we are not taking care of the flock we already have, instead concentrating on reaching out to new people.
The post is by Rev. Lucas V. Woodford:
I came across a fascinating post this past weekend from the missional website www.vergenetwork.org. It was titled, “Why the Missional Movement Will Fail” (part 2) and was written by missional guru Mike Breen.
He cuts to the chase and offers an interesting perspective: “It’s time we start being brutally honest about the missional movement that has emerged in the last 10-15 years: Chances are better than not it’s going to fail. That may seem cynical, but I’m being realistic. There is a reason so many movements in the Western church have failed in the past century: They are a car without an engine. A missional church or a missional community or a missional small group is the new car that everyone is talking about right now, but no matter how beautiful or shiny the vehicle, without an engine, it won’t go anywhere.”
What’s the engine that is missing? Without question, Breen says, it is discipleship. In short, he says that the North American church has become so obsessed with getting the message out that they are failing to get the message right, and are therefore failing to actually make disciples:“We took 30 days and examined the Twitter conversations happening. We discovered there are between 100-150 times as many people talking about mission as there are discipleship (to be clear, that’s a 100:1). We are a group of people addicted to and obsessed with the work of the Kingdom, with little to no idea how to be with the King.”
Breen cites another fascinating (must read) post from the missional website (Out of Ur.com, www.outofur.com; the July 18, 2011 post by Skye Jethani) titled“Has the Mission Become Our Idol?” Here, too, there is an internal alarm being sounded about the recent “missional” push by the North American church.
Jethani offers no small indictment: “[M]any church leaders unknowingly replace the transcendent vitality of a life with God for the ego satisfaction they derive from a life for God.” He goes on, “When we come to believe that our faith is primarily about what we can do for God in the world, it is like throwing gasoline on our fear of insignificance. The resulting fire may be presented to others as a godly ambition, a holy desire to see God’s mission advance–the kind of drive evident in the Apostle Paul’s life. But when these flames are fueled by fear they reveal none of the peace, joy, or love displayed by Paul and rooted in the Spirit. Instead the relentless drive to prove our worth can quickly become destructive.”
Nonetheless, the notion of getting the message out continues to remain an intense push among many Lutherans circles, motivating some to take increasingly confusing steps towards the end of getting the message out. From adopting theologically foreign methodologies, to measuring the faithfulness of a church solely by the numerical growth of members, to forcing the sale of an active congregational church building to turn a large profit—all are being done in the name of getting the message out.
Sadly, in the end, by the testimony of those closest to the missional movement, the priority of getting the message out has confounded getting the clear message of Jesus Christ right. Thus, I believe it is time that evangelical Lutherans be allowed to be evangelical Lutherans. I believe it’s time we stop being afraid of practicing the profound catechizing, discipling, and confessional faith for which we are known! I believe it’s time to have honest, open, candid, and collegial dialogue about what it means to be a 21st century Lutheran who “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). For those willing to enter the fray, I welcome your constructive thoughts.
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