A while back I wrote about the “Missional Church” and how its just another “fad.” Quite a few people took issue with me. Which made me feel bad. So I took it down. Which was a mistake. I’m 100% dead on with this. So I’m reposting it again. Here goes…
Yesterday I received an email from a ministry friend who asked:
So what do you think about Greg Nettle’s Christian Standard article The Missional Model: ‘Go and Make Disciples’ and his thoughts on 70/30 vs. 30/70? I remember in our conversations you telling me to pour the majority of our resources into our Sunday morning gatherings. Do you still find that to be effective?
Can an attractional church still create depth in disciples?
Since Greg Nettle is a trusted ministry friend whom I hold in the absolute highest regard, and since we have the exact same heartbeat for the lost and hurting (our churches are doing a lot of the same things), I thought I would share my answer to my friend Chadwick’s email here on my blog.
I felt that younger pastors might find my thoughts on the “missional” movement and church fads a counterpoint to 95% of the current trends in ministry thought.
There are two issues that are greatly distracting pastors right now: The resurgence of Calvinism and The giddy embrace of the “missional church” fad.
At CCV we just want to be the church, period. We are definitely attractional. But we are definitely missional. Not because we have “bought into a new paradigm of doing ministry,” but because that’s what the church does (in addition to dozens and dozens of others things).
In a few weeks our entire church will sweep across the Philadelphia metro area for seven days and serve alongside over 50 community organizations to help bring hope and healing to our region. And trust me, it has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be a “missional” church.
It’s called just being the church.
Of course we knock ourselves out trying to create compelling services and getting our people to bring their friends to those. But does that mean we’re not focused on creating disciples that go out and kick down the gates of hell? Of course not. I’m nuts about that.
Of course we’re about creating fully-committed willing-to-die-a-martyr’s-death world-changing disciples here. But again, trust me, it has nothing to do whatsoever with adopting some new framework with which to view and lead the church.
When we talked two years ago I told you to put the majority of your resources at the time into your worship services because (a) they were horrible, and (b) you needed to create momentum. With new-found momentum comes more opportunities and resources to unleash people to serve and evangelize locally and around the world.
It’s not either/or, but both/and.
It’s all about what God is leading your church to do at that specific time, not some pre-set 30/70 paradigm for how to allocate resources.
The core issue is this: being “missional” is a fad, just like all the other fads I’ve seen throughout my years in ministry.
In 25 years I have fielded calls and emails from pastors who were wondering, just like you, if they should lead their church through the “flavor of the month” church fad:
- Baby-boomer church
- Seeker-driven church
- Seeker-sensitive church
- Purpose-driven church
- Worship-evangelism church (Hillsong version)
- Worship-evangelism church (Blink 182 version)
- Small groups church
- Church OF small groups
- Cell church
- Gen X church
- Postmodern church
- Anti-Brian McLaren orthodox theology church (but still embracing postmodernism and David Crowder’s goatee)
- One church, with many campuses (rotating teaching team)
- One church, with many campuses (video venue)
- One church, with many campuses (okay, video teaching was a stupid idea, let’s go back to live teaching)
- And now…Missional church
Chadwick, I have just two pieces of advice for you: (1) Avoid church fads and (2) just be the church.
Trust me, ten years from now being a “missional church” will sound just as ridiculous as someone wanting to be a “Purpose-driven church” sounds now.
The last piece of advice the Apostle Paul gave Timothy was “Keep your head in all situations” (2 Timothy 4:5).
Man, do we need to heed that advice now more than ever.
Your thoughts? Do you think the “missional” movement is a fad?