Those who know me well are familiar with my curmudgeonally skepticism about the new fangled “missional” word (what’s wrong with “mission”?). I was rather taken, however, with the vision conjured by this “Missional Tale” and may find myself relenting – only slightly!
2 thoughts on “Missional? Weasel word no longer?”
I read it too…. I am not encourgaged to use the word ‘missional’ as it is confused in its basic currency.
We either use the word ‘ministry’ or the word ‘mission’. Mission is putting the person in touch with the saving Grace of God in Christ Jesus.
Ministry may lead to mission … but we all have a ministry and we share in mission when the opportunity presents itself.
I suspect that the word “missional” has replaced “evangelical” because the latter has come to be associated with a particular type of preaching outreach in the USA. Years ago the notion of evangelism undergirded everything we did in Churches of Christ. We did evangelism through segmented outreach programs that reached different members of the community. We did not call all those “programs” church, but they were.
Missionalism purports to be more “grass roots” i.e. about local Christian communities “shaped for mission”. It is not exactly clear what that means or how it differs from the older model. It is often interpreted as cultural populism.
Some “missional” experts do their case harm because they:
1. use ridiculous jargon that sometimes requires a glossary;
2. exaggerate the context. They will tell us we are now living in a postmodern age ( where “everybody is right because nobody is wrong”) where everything has changed. This is a simplification. Most of us live most of our time in a very modern world. But we can all become postmodern when it suits us.
3. caricature the past. Some missional exponents come from outside our communion. They attribute to us attitudes and behaviour which some of us barely recognize;
4. seem to advocate a “one size fits all” . Of course, it doesn’t, and the old “meat and four veg” approach to worship (communion and four hymns) may still be the way to go in some communities. For churches in such communities that would also have to be regarded as “missional” on most definitions.
What is worrying about all this is that a particular view of what it means to be missional is beginning to define what is “orthodox” among Churches of Christ. This is impacting the credentialing of ministers and is beginning to be divisive.
Over the years we have progressively killed off the Christian education programs, particularly adult education, which would have enabled us to be a grass roots movement.