In this 5-on-5 series, we’ve asked 5 missional thinkers and practitioners 5 questions about the state of the Missional movement. Part 3 is today, and here is the question we posed:
How are things unfolding in the Western Church differently than you anticipated?
Part 3: Things unfolding differently than anticipated:
Alan Hirsch, 100M: Actually I am amazed at the adoption of missional ideas in the last decade or so. Our very best leaders and thinkers now assume its correctness. The problem is that for many who fail to truly grapple with the implications of it, it will turn out to be another church fad. The problem with this is that the Western church has no Plan B. We cannot go back to either traditional church liturgy or church growth theory to solve our problems. In fact they might turn out to be part of the problem. We are overly attached to outmoded forms of the church.
David Bailey, Arrabon: I believe it was Tim Keller who said, “Whenever we make a good thing a great thing, we’ve made an idol.” Within the American Church, the good thing of being able to vote for our president and other elected officials has become a greatest thing in many cases, so many of us in the American Church have made some significant compromising sacrifices at the alter of politics. This has caused a generational divide and rupture within evangelicalism. I think there are a lot of Boomers and older folks that don’t even realize what has happened. I didn’t see that coming so soon and I’m discerning what’s next.
Jessie Cruickshank, 100M: I guess I expected there to be a bit more urgency from church or denominational leaders at this point. From long-term financial viability, to the incredible leadership gap in pastors rushing down upon us, to the significant aging of our congregation. to the increasing number of people in our country who have never heard the gospel, there are many continuing trends that are flashing red lights saying how we do ‘church,’ how we think about discipleship, and how we think about leadership needs to change. There are organizations and denominations responding to the present and coming reality, but I continue to be amazed at how few thought leaders, conferences, or conversations discuss these realities. I thought by now there would be more urgency in the Western Church.
JR Rozko, Missio Alliance: Honestly, my first reaction to this question is simply, “We’re a lot worse off than I ever thought.” It seems that nearly every day brings a new sense of awareness of just how thoroughly the mainstream, Protestant Church lacks the resources and integrity to contend with the issues, pressures, and challenges of our day. The election of Donald Trump (I’d be saying the same thing with a different slant if Clinton has been elected) has been massively revealing about the sad state of evangelical Christianity in the US on a number of fronts (race, religious pluralism, gender & sexuality… just to name a few). In light of all we’re seeing, I would have expected greater expressions of “soul searching,” openness, and outright repentance on the part of the Christian community. Sadly, we are seeing far more polarization, ideological entrenchment, and castigation of “the other.”
Neil Cole, 100M: Our voice was heard and then stolen by non-practicing celebrities that redefined the words to suit their status and identity. In a sense, one of the worst things to happen to us is that we became successful at getting the message out, but the message sold better than any true practice.
Part 4 of this 5-on-5 series will post on Monday of next week and will explore this question: “What’s one thing you think you’ve been wrong about or missed as it relates to ‘Missional’?