Growth: Uncertain belief still counts as knowledge…

The Missional Church
June 21, 2006, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Church, Emerging

I think some people have been hearing me whining and complaining for a while about the inadequacy of the church as of late.  I guess it's been really tough on me to see a church drained of truly making disciples of Jesus.

I'm going to attend Urbana 06 this year (after a bit of prodding from certain people) and I got this web article about the Missional church.  If there are some of you who don't like anything Emergent, this may not be for you, but I think this article is a great summary of a lot of ideas and thoughts I have been having about the church.

The Missional Church by Jim Thomas

Thomas quotes Minfred Minatrea about missional churches with 9 common practices:

1. Having a high threshold for membership (high expectations for believers)
2. Being real, not real religious (being transparent, authentic, with one foot in “the world.”)
3. Teaching to obey rather than to know (a practical faith)
4. Rewriting worship every week (Creative, participatory Sunday morning services)
5. Living apostolically (each believer as a missionary)
6. Expecting to change the world (aggressively engaged in transforming communities)
7. Ordering actions according to purpose. (Ruthless aligning of resources with mission)
8. Measuring growth by capacity to release rather than retain. (Not megachurches but multiplying churches)
9. Placing kingdom concerns first (in contrast to denomination first. Thus, cooperation with other churches)

This hits it right on the money!  I totally agree with these practices and have been struggling to put them into words for a while.  Later in the article he shows models that deviate from being a missional church:

– There are some churches who are missionary churches who focus more on developing funding for foreign missions which has become a sort of "traditional" understanding  of what being a missionary means.  But the missional church goes further and shows that missions right outside our door is just as important and that EVERY believer is a missionary.

– Another church model is the Church growth model which some has become too focus on growing and retaining their own membership versus kingdom growth and "releasing" others to plant churches.

Finally, Something that I think hits close to home…  for TCBC:

Maintenance churches. Minatrea refers to these as conventional churches. McNeal describes them as churches with a “club” mentality. They are churches that have made themselves their purpose. Their priorities include maintaining established programs and practices, in large part because they are established, and keeping people coming to the church in order to maintain the programs. The church building (enlarging and maintaining it) is often a key goal or priority.

At the risk of overstating the nature of maintenance churches, I would place in this category churches that have a self-absorbed spirituality. That is, churches focused on orthodoxy, tradition, or health and wealth messages. (This is not to say that more traditional churches cannot be missional.) A related category of spirituality is what I would call "knowledge-centered." This is a church that elevates analysis and knowledge of the Bible but does not exhort and practically enable people to an active Christian life-style. Information is seen as a necessary and sufficient witness, and believing it brings salvation and the Holy Spirit, leading in turn to a transformed life. My own church has had dual tendencies, both a knowledge orientation and radical discipleship. One of the changes we’ve been experiencing in recent years is a shift to a more activist, missional church life.

Anyways, please read it if you're interested 😉



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[…] According to this blog post I stumbled across, it sounds like the upcoming Urbana 06 may have some talk about the Missional Church, at least if a resource article by Jim Thomas is any indication. There is much talk in the American church about being missional. This word implies at least two theological and ecclesiological course corrections. On the one hand, missional hints at moving from church as a “club” for Christians, to church as Christ’s body, sent by God to reconcile the world to Himself. On the other hand, missional means moving from missions as an activity in which a few Christians are sent to foreign countries to convert unbelievers, to mission as God’s most basic purpose, intended for all believers. One definition of missional congregations is “those communities of Christ-followers who see the church as the people of God who are sent on a mission.”[1] […]

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Great stuff, I will defenitly have to read up more on this stuff, thanks for the cool article. 🙂

May God give you courage for your future tasks.

Comment by SLwolf

Interesting comments.. 😀

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After reading the article, I feel that I really need more information on the topic. Could you suggest some more resources ?

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