Another letter with a very good question. I open it up to you today and I’ll weigh in later. I hope the missional leaders and emerging movement leaders will listen to this question. This pastor is suggesting that the term “missional” is perhaps as offensive as the term “evangelistic.”
Your “Missional Jesus” series prompted me to write you an email about something I’ve been thinking about for awhile.
I have been wondering about the wisdom of “Christians/churches” attaching the title “missional” to what they are doing. While in general I am a big fan of “missional” principles that organizations like Allelon encourage and embrace, I can’t help but think that the word “missional” is a rather non-missional word.
Think about it. From someone who is not a church insider, it doesn’t seem the word “missional” could be fully separated from the word “missionary.” In fact, I believe this is intentional. At least part of the goal, it seems, of the missional church movement (if you can call it that) is for Christians to see themselves as missionaries to the surrounding non-Christian culture.
While being a missionary to another culture/country has many positive and probably helpful connotations for the Christian subculture, it has very negative connotations amongst nearly everyone else in the western world – who happen to be the very people we so-called “missional” Christians are hoping to engage.
This makes me wonder: Why don’t we simply stick to the basics of the Jesus Creed? Love God. Love Others. Follow Jesus as his life-long apprentices. If we avoid labeling ourselves and our churches with the latest catch phrase—be it the word “missional” or something else—perhaps we will also avoid making those people we’re called to love feel like our mission project.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this subject. If you want to get a broader dialogue about this going on your blog feel free to do so.