I just discovered “Missional Canuck” and have added that site to my RSS feed. On that blog, Karen Wilk, writes about her own journey to a missional theology. She describes what it meant for her to be part of a church plant that was great at attracting people but had issues with discipling. And that’s where “missional” fits in.
In 1993, Alan Roxburgh described the church as a vacuum cleaner sucking believers out of their neighbourhoods, and in to the institution. Despite the fact that many pious church-goers were offended, the data confirms his analogy. Studies show that, after 5 years, even new believers no longer have any significant relationships with nonbelievers. Couple this statistic with the realization that in a postmodern, post-Christendom culture, our neighbours have no interest in coming to church, and the need for a renewed understanding and practice for bearing witness in the communities God has placed us becomes not only essential but necessary if we are to be all that we are already called and made to be as God’s people.
That’s a pretty good description of church as a “vacuum cleaner.” I like that.