Rick over at The Blind Begger called for a Missional Synchroblog earlier in June. Today there are around 50 of us blogging on what missional means. Rick (and others) felt that the word had been co-opted, and was really starting to loose its distinction. I could just Wiki the definition and point you to it (well...ok...I will), but I think that missional will take on different forms in relation to locality.
As a campus minster, we talked about missional vs. attractional at every staff meeting. What that meant for us was not having giant events all the time, and instead trying to immerse ourselves on campus. What this looked like was many different small groups on campus, several opportunities weekly to give away food and soda/water and many other ways to let the campus know that we were there for them. When we did have an event, we usually had tons of people that would never come around a "Christian" event. I love looking around on Facebook and seeing what some of my old students are now doing to reach the campus. We didn't try to drag people over to our building with the lure of free food and a fire and damnation devotional during the eating. We were extremely intentional about building relationships and in turn we saw many people turn to God for the first time and many others become comfortable around Christians for the first time.
Since starting Asbury, I haven't had the time to think about these sort of things. Most of my blogging revolves around various topics surrounding Christian worship. But I do work at a small church and recently I have started thinking about being a missional community of faith again. You see, I work at a church that has a small membership mainly made of people 75 and up. Our church is surrounded by a neighborhood full of people with substance abuse issues, hang-ups with the Church and children of various paternal history. We can't have a gospel sing and expect for the neighborhood to show up and we can't go knock on their doors and tell them they are going to hell. The quest that the staff have been talking about is how to reckon these two vastly different cultural groups in the name of Jesus Christ. This is going to mean changes on part of the church. Missional is not a generational lifestyle. The church at its root level is a missional organization. If we look in the gospels we see Christ meeting needs as He was "saving" people. Drawing others into the deeply relational and loving arms of Jesus is the transition from tent meetings and talks of fire and brimstone.
God is in Himself the most perfect example of community, and our job is to make His church resemble that loving relationship.
The read that I have enjoyed the most over this synchroblog is on David Fitch's blog. David is the author of "The Great Giveaway", which I read last year and highly recommend. See David's post on why the Mega-Church can't be missional.
The rest of the synchroblogs:
Alan Hirsch Alan Knox Andrew Jones Barb Peters Bill Kinnon Brad Brisco Brad Grinnen Brad Sargent Brother Maynard Bryan Riley Chad Brooks Chris Wignall Cobus Van Wyngaard Dave DeVries David Best David Fitch David Wierzbicki DoSi Doug Jones Duncan McFadzean Erika Haub Grace Jamie Arpin-Ricci Jeff McQuilkin John Smulo Jonathan Brink JR Rozko Kathy Escobar Len Hjalmarson Makeesha Fisher Malcolm Lanham Mark Berry Mark Petersen Mark Priddy Michael Crane Michael Stewart Nick Loyd Patrick Oden Peggy Brown Phil Wyman Richard Pool Rick Meigs Rob Robinson Ron Cole Scott Marshall Sonja Andrews Stephen Shields Steve Hayes Tim Thompson Thom Turner