As I was compiling my 2008 review post, I gave a bit of thought to what the missional conversation for 2009 would hold — or what I hope it will hold. There are a few areas that we as a — what are we? Conversation? Movement? ?? — need to talk more about, and I hope that 2009 will see us tackle some of these areas in greater depth. And what are they?
1. Discipleship — this is a bad word, but it may be the commonly-used one for the topic that needs attention, which is spiritual formation. Some discussion has already been had around the subject of missional orders and rules of life, but the heart of all this is spiritual formation. This is an important subject that needs further shaping to describe what this looks like and how it is intentionally integrated into the missional way of life.
2. Stories from the Trenches — despite the amount of conversation currently taking place around the blogosphere, we are largely missing those accounts of how people are expressing their faith missionally. As important as the theoretical conversation has been for us thus far, it is time to fill in the gaps with real-world examples. More than a collection of anecdotes, the sum of these entries forms the basis for a set of missional data that describes the efficacy (however it is measured) of missional church.
3. Evangelism — again, I’ve used a word with strong negative connotations, but once again the concept is one which needs addressing. In some fashion, even missional relationships need a means of moving people to “close the deal” and become Christ-followers. Typically in a missional context, this will be largely non-confrontational and non-manipulative in many ways, even perhaps anticlimactic. But just how one does enter the Kingdom of Heaven is a valid concern and one we need to discuss more.
What do you hope to see in the missional conversation during the coming year? What areas need further discussion?