"Putting missional on as a modifier to church missed the point in the book Missional Church because it turned the conversation back to the church. That was a mistake because it became a conversation about saving our story called church. What's happening is a massive unraveling of our church story. There is no putting that story back together. Instead as the modern church continues to die, experiments will develop as people explore the connections of gospel and culture. There they will discern Gods activity in this current culture. And what emerges will be very different." Alan Roxburgh ATCO2015
It's difficult to find descriptors for what we are about in Path of Renewal. Many of the words we are wont to use have become passé or are used in different, sometimes unhelpful ways, leading to confusion and misunderstanding.Missional is just one of those words...
Pushed to define what we mean when we speak of being Missional perhaps we can do no better than resort to the words of the gospel:
Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. Matthew 10:5-8
Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'Matthew 25:40
Doing and telling. Proclaiming the good news of the kingdom in word and action. Experimenting, not from the safety of our sanctuaries in words and rituals we've practiced and honed to attract but with tools less familiar and beyond our comfort and expertise.
Becoming Missional seems like a slow process involving us laying down what we think we know to catch up with the new thing that God is about - Finding connections we might not have envisaged and living with the unpredictability of what the Spirit reveals of God's activity in our neighbourhoods.
In the end, it is not the descriptors that matter so much as the evidence of our involvement, with God, in pointing to all that brings fullness of life to all of creation, starting with the communities in which we live and work.