I know that a lot of folks don’t “get it”…get this whole missional thing. I don’t get it at times either. I count the persons in the pews and hear the report of the offering plate and I lament that missional thinking isn’t packing the church and helping the coffers. And some in our church leadership, as they look the the numerical decline of our denomination question the “small church” movement and seem to lean to a more attractional model — if only we could market ourselves in such a way that would have folks lining at the door.
And, in a way, they are right. Missional isn’t about growing the traditional church. It won’t happen. Or, at least that’s not the goal.
Here’s what Ashley says over at A Pile of Ashes:
Being missional means seeing beyond the walls of the church building and never expecting any of these people to go there. The point isn’t to get them in a pew. The point is to go to them where they hang out and get to know what they are like and what they think about, and to love them where they are. It has nothing to do with where you think they should hang out or what you think they should think about. Begin conversations. Ask about their kids, their families, what music they listen to, what teams they like to watch or sports they like to play. The goal is to LOVE THEM as Jesus… Be Jesus to them…care, serve, listen.
Don’t be in a hurry. This is a long-term, slow process. (And introverts, you‘ll just have to go slower and get there at your own pace.) If you need some other ideas, Professor Robert Tuttle’s book, Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World, helped me get started. You’ll find that as you build relationships and learn about people’s stories, you will have space to begin to share your story, as well as the story of the grace and redemption of Jesus.
So often our goal, really, is to grow the church. If that’s the goal, then we’re missing the mark. The goal is share the story of the grace and redemption of Jesus.