Friday, October 1, 2010

Common Misperceptions of Missional?

For some the word missional itself will conjure up images of colonial imperialism. We intend to use it actually as the very opposite. Not as ways to seek power over, but as a means of serving the powerless. As ways communities, relationships, can undermine the "Empire" of The American Dream of Affluence, Achievement, Appearance, The Corporate Culture of Individualism and Coolness that influences church as well as state. We use the word in its Greek sense of missio, being Sent, being Sent to Serve love and justice.

In The New Conspirators, Tom Sine creates a spectrum or river that includes such streams as "emerging" "mosaic/multicultural" "missional" and "monastic". For missional see his article here at Basic missional characteristic, from Sine and Reggie McNeal's work (see book list below) is a turning inside out of time, talent, and treasure from building up "a church" to which people come, to building up "the church" which goes to become itself in the world. Particularly the world of the poor.

Have you encountered other common misperceptions? Issues in trying to "explain" it other than "come and see"? Wouldn't it be, really, so much easier if there were a "red pill" to take? What or who has been your "red pill?"
Ron R.


  1. I haven't found yet a foolproof way of explaining it. It seems that most people I talk to have a different "red pill" moment.

    Mine: I was already a fan of the idea that our churches should be beacons, not bunkers. Then I had a missionally-minded professor who talked about the "mission field" being right here.

    It hit home, and I suddenly saw "church" in a new light. I often feel that I am living in a foreign culture -- one that doesn't reflect my values. Rather than the attractional idea of the beacon, I could suddenly visualize us going out into the community with our own lanterns, carrying the light to where people were. Being missionaries.

    I took the red pill ... and I can't go back to "seeing" church in the same way.

  2. For me it was rather gradual; the church growth movement became the transformational church movement, ala Easum/Bandy, became the quantum postmodern church more with Sweet, became the emerging church and then full conversion to missional. But my first class in seminary read Vincent Donovan, jesuit, book Rediscovering Christianity based on his transformation in Africa of realizing he wasn't going there to take God to them but going to find God already at work there, and to take it back home. Then there was exposure to Stringfellow. Completing the field was the influence of The New Paul Perspective and radical communities of the early followers. A workshop with Reggie McNeal was the turning point red pill moment