Monday, November 27, 2006

Missional or Traditional??


I've been wrestling with traditional "Church" for quite sometime now. I don't have a traditional mindset but sometimes I feel trapped in traditional thinking. I'm more missional in my mind but I'm not sure how to escape some of the tradition of "church". I feel like my church has got to begin a missional journey that will connect us to what really needs connecting to. The people outside our walls. We have to realize that Christ has to be taken and shared with people in our community. We send missionaries all over the world to take the gospel message to the lost but in our home communities it would seem that we feel they should come to us in our "church" building. I mean, after all, we're there every week. The lights are on, the doors are unlocked and the breakfast tacos are in the kitchen. But, they're not coming! We have our core group and frequent guests but we're missing something. I'm convinced that which we're missing is waiting to be discovered outside the doors and walls of our building.

I consider Jesus and how he did ministry. I don't see him holed up in a synagogue to just graciously receive all who would enter. Rather the majority of his ministry was outside where the people lived. The church was wherever he went, wherever he was. I told my church tonight that we have to realize the church is not a building; it's an individual, unit or body of Christ-Followers. Where we are, the Church is! I so deeply feel that we must merge into our community to make the kind of impact that God deserves from our lives. We must make a greater impact!

More on this later...

12 comments:

The Creature said...

Hey Shannon,

I appreciated this post. It sounds like you and I might be in a similar place - though not geographically (I'm in Australia)!

I have been in a un-traditional pastoral role in my church for a bit now and am, after 2 or 3 years of heading down a "missional/incarnational" path am embarking on the next stage in a few months time - we are starting our "alternative" gathering in Feb.

I'll be checking back to read more about your journey and how things come together for you. If you ever want to chew the fat, feel free to drop me a line via Moved Mountains

Cheers,

Andrew

Missional Jerry said...

Welcome to the conversation!

blind beggar said...

Shannon: I know how you feel, but nurture it. Don’t let your missional heart get smothered with the negativism that may come from well meaning people – including maybe your board. The wise pastor doesn’t attempt to change the whole congregation, but finds those who share his heart and begins with them (remember the new wine/old wine skins analogy). One way to find those kindred spirits to do a small group study on Missional or Traditional. See who responds to the message and who doesn’t. It may only be one person. If so, thank God for that one and the two of you begin to learn and model a missional life while you continue to teach on it. I bet you will find more coming alongside over time.

The key to missional is a shift in thinking. It is not a program or a church growth model. It is about people (the real church) intentionally moving out of their comfort zone and into the world to find and join God in what he is already doing. One good study that helps people make this shift in thinking is Blackaby’s “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”

Be encouraged!

Shannon said...

Andrew,

It's good to know others are wrestling with many of these same questions. I find encouragement in it. Thanks for dropping by! I'll be over to visit with you I'm sure.

Shannon said...

Jerry,

Thanks for the welcoming!

Shannon said...

blind beggar,

That's great advice and I appreciated it! Throughout the course of this year I have been preaching and teaching on becoming a "Missional" church and didn't even realize it. If that makes sense. I just know what God has been doing in my heart and I've been sharing, very openly and honestly with my church those things. I must say, I have had a wonderful response from everyone. I think as a church, we are ready for the Missional journey.

jozlin said...

I think that to reach the many souls in this world that need to be reached...there are several things needed. 1. willing servants who are willing to be stretched and trained. 2. a willing leader who seeks God's will and 3. a vision and a heart for the area they feel called to reach. You fit 2. There are so many ways to reach out to those who would not want to "step foot into a church" You are setting a fire and I feel like it will catch.

Shannon said...

Jozlin,

Thanks for giving me #2. More often than not I feel as though I'm a hesitant leader rather than a willing one. Uncharted territory is always intimidating to explore. I'm convinced exploration will lead to discovery however so I'm willing to do it.

BTW, we missed seeing you Sunday...hope everything is going well for you!

Brodie said...

I think I understand where your comming from with your comment, 'I don't have a traditional mindset but sometimes I feel trapped in traditional thinking. I'm more missional in my mind but I'm not sure how to escape some of the tradition of "church"'.

I guess what I'm learning is that its a journey and some walk or learn to run faster than others. Me - I'm just trying to keep in step with where God is leading me.

Shannon said...

Brodie,

Thanks for stopping by. Yeah I think I'm learning that better everyday. I'm certain of what God wants from me but I'm also certain God will not out pace me. It's His work going on in me and when I'm not sure of what to do exactly, I know he's patient. I love what He is doing!

Adam Gonnerman said...

I've been a student preacher, missionary in Brazil and located full-time minister. The "if you build it, they will come" mentality exists everywhere. What the Brazilian church I helped my brother-in-law to plant in Uberlandia got right was teaching people to have personal, evangelistic Bible studies with friends, families and neighbors. Every member was called to be a missionary. The church is there and growing.

Shannon said...

Adam,

Hi....glad you stopped in. I think you nailed itE "every member was called to be a missionary" I feel this is an important element missing from the lives of many "church" goers today. They don't make the connection that their high calling is really a Missionary Calling! The consumer mentality has invaded the church and this is what we're left with. I'm encouraged to hear stories of real people making real advances in the Kingdom of God! Thanks so much for sharing.