Most helpful from David Fitch recently: A Warning List For Those Who Would Join a Missional Church Gathering. He offers ten things these folks should not expect… and the corollaries, what they should inspect instead. Good insights, should help to keep a few people’s expectations on track… and gain knowing nods from those who learned these the hard way. Oh, and take special note of “Number 11”, where the clincher falls under the heading, “O and by the way.” Update: Missional Jerry has done this up as a Powerpoint presentation for those so inclined.
I might add:
12. Should not expect people in their former churches to understand what they’re doing. Expect them to look at you a little funny and be reminded through many such exchanges that the mode they’ve chosen is infinitely more satisfying and effective than so much of the ‘politics’ they leave behind.
13. Should not expect their views on many social, political, and theological views to remain as they were, static and unchanging, and in agreement with their old church friends. Expect them to be gradually re-formed and re-prioritized in accordance with a missional view of the world, a view that says you’re there for the good of the world and not to make the world conform to your view of the Bible.
14. Should not expect endless sermons, “teachings,” and discussions on the typological or prophetic interpretation of obscure Old Testament texts or bullet-pointed lists of how Paul runs the church. Expect instead to keep returning to look at the life of Jesus.
This list could probably keep going on for quite a while… in that and other respects, it reminds me a lot of an older (August 2005) post, “You might be Missional,” which could also stand some additions and updates.
- If your church takes up a cash collection to buy beverages, and the major questions center around which blend of fair-trade coffee beans to buy or who has the best case-lot deal on red wine… you might be missional.
- If you feel genuine concern for someone in your missional community when they start attending an institutional church wint greater regularity… you might be missional.
- If your kids easily lose track of whether or not “today was Saturday or Sunday”… you might be missional.
- If when told you’re going to a friend’s house later in the day, your kids ask, “Is it church?”… you might be missional.
It’s kinda fun, actually… feel free to add to either list.
If your shopping list for a church retreat is topped by scotch, beer, wine and Fair Trade coffee, and the retreat schedule is limited to meal times so that people have plenty of time to chat (errr … build relationships)… you might be missional.
If the primary factor in choosing the retreat location was a large building with kitchen facilities which would allow communal meal preparation instead of eating at the camp dining hall … you might be missional.
LOL.. the last two I remember well..
Should not expect to hear that our brothers and sisters who live and practice their faith differently than what we do have faith and love as valid as ours, even if they are in those nasty ‘former churches.’ After all, we have the corner on what true a life dedicated to Christ played out looks like (and feels like, and sounds like of course).