OK, this a comment from the same Christianity Today article by Ed Stetzer that I posted a comment from yesterday. It’s from a commenter Rick Dalbey and I think it’s worth addressing:
Missional is a trendy buzzword. It means anything a church does. Feed the Hungry? Missional. Dig a well? Missional. Build grocery stores in poor neighborhoods? Missional. Rebuild Haiti? Missional. Landscape public schools? Missional. My personal belief is that “Missional” is a comforting substitute for the only real mission that Christ ever gave the church, preaching the gospel to our communities. But that would be hard and embarrassing in this post-modern, post-christian society..
The dictate often comes down from on high that every small group should be missional. Which means that every small group should adopt a project or have a mission. Donate backpacks to school children, uh make sure barefoot people have shoes, uh…free haircuts. Meanwhile attendance drops precipitously because we do everything but what the church exists for.
Rick Dalbey is spot on with “missional” being a buzzword and he’s right about it being attached to every good thing the church does for its community. But where I would disagree (and maybe that’s because I’m drunk on the missional kool-aid) is about it being a substitute for the mission of preaching the gospel to our communities. I would argue that the implication of a missional understanding is that the gospel is preached best when it is incarnated by God’s people in the communities in which they live.
And (again this might be the kool-aid talking) the focus on attendance is wrong-placed as the tacit assumption may be that attendance is directly proportional to discipleship of members or the faithfulness of the church.
But, that said, he hits some good points here and missional folks should have answers.