Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Church and Mission: What's Missing

Here is promised more good stuff, thought provoking, and I hope mission starting goodies from Reggie McNeal's book Missional Renaissance: see posts below. Welcome to all who are coming here for the first time from the Virtual Blog Tour. Happy reading.

"Are people better off for being a part of this church, or are they just tireder and poorer?" Good place to start asking; some will choose to keep to the status quo and think that going missional means more work, more "outreach"; as McNeal relates, it is just the opposite. I like to say it is the difference between obligation and opportunity; if folks are involved in something called church out of obligation there's a lot of ill health going on; what we offer them is opportunity.

The rise and fall of the program driven church. Part of the problem of burnout to leaders and others in church is that they are trying to keep programs going or start new programs. The early church didn't do it and that's how they overthrew the Empire from within. McNeal makes a good point too that the program church as we know it now grew alongside the service economy rise of post world war two America; of course now we are in experience economy and so churches stuck in service economy are being stressed as fish out of water.

"Isn't the church supposed to be the center of a person's spiritual experience?...No it's not. Everyday living is where spiritual development is worked out. The church needs to pivot to focus on that, not trying to create an artificial environment to replace it.

People need help debriefing their lives. The missional church deploys people into the world and then gathers together with them to debrief their experiences and grow spirit for the next deployment. When we gather we need to ask these questions more often: what is the best thing that happened to you this week? What was the biggest challenge you faced? What worries you the most? What needs celebrating in your life? [One of the worst things that UU churches used to do, some still do, is what is called talkback, where individuals after the sermon got up to say back to the preacher what they agreed with and disagreed with; the participation part is good though; it is just that people and worship shouldnt be clergy focused, but there should be a time for people to talk with one another in twos and threes about what they will take home from their time with one another and the teaching they might get}.

Families in mission: church can be a time for sharing how families are working to serve others; inspire children to not come to sunday school to learn all about God but themselves experience it in their lives outside of Sunday gatherings; have them set up a lemonade stand for others, for example, this summer.

Type rest of the post here