Alan Roxburgh and M. Scott Boren are onto something: in their new book called Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One (Allelon Missional Series) , they liken the “missional church” as a river with three currents shaping it:
Below we give the factors they think are “damming” the flow of mystery, memory and mission. [An important set of insights can be found in those suggestions.]
How important are these elements to church life? What do you think of their suggestions about modernity and postmodernity as damming up the missional river?
You can’t answer the question “Why Israel?” There is no answer other than God’s election. You can’t answer the question “Why those first Christians? Why Peter or Paul?” No answer. It’s God’s own mystery. That election, as we saw in Chris Wright, is about being chosen for missional purposes.
Memory is also central to the people of God and God’s missional ways. Memory is not about factual recall so much as it is about a Story that shapes identity. That Story gives rise to contemporary actions to embody and live out that Story. Think Passover and Lord’s Supper — not so much soteriological events but of ways we participate in the Story that defines us and gives us identity. Memory is formative.
Mission is the outgrowth of mystery and memory: the church demonstrates (embodies) what God’s mission is to be.
Now I skip to the next chp because they give the items that dam up the flow of the missional river:
***** because mystery is reduced to history, chance and preferences
***** because memory is replaced by progress, future, next and frontier
***** because mission is reduced to self-actualization.
***** because mystery is reduced to spiritual options and experiences
***** because memory is replaced with nostalgia, borrowing bits and pieces.
***** because mission is recasted as playfulness …