Missions vs. Missional
I think I've become too used to the language of the missional church. The language that sees the Kingdom of God present in this world, that sees the good news as being about more than getting one's butt into heaven when we die, and that takes seriously the call to bring freedom to the oppressed. So this past Sunday as I visited the church I grew up in, I wasn't prepared to go back to the old perspective. That of a church doing missions as opposed to being missional.
My first clue should have been that it was the church's missions conference. Missionaries from all around the world had been brought in to report on what they were doing. So the sermon that morning was from an Indian man who runs a Seminary in India. He was there to tell us about the "Divine Strategy for Missions." As he put it - the way missions always has been and the way it always should be. The strategy is apparently composed of a mere four points.
1. Spreading the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - which as he explain is a lot easier in India than America because they allow prayer in schools.
2. Raising support from the believers - this has to come from Americans because indigenous people can't afford to support missions.
3. Engage in social outreach - This is done only to soften people's hearts because "physical help that doesn't result in spiritual help is no help at all."
4. Reach the influential in the community - because finding and using power is the only way to spread Christianity.
During most of his sermon he kept talking about the tiny tiny amount of Christians in India. But then at one point he said something about how Pentecostalism is really popular and spreading fast in India because they focus on healing so much (but that we of course know that the only true healers are doctors who have been gifted by God and trained at medical schools). So besides sounding more like a high modernist atheist than a spiritual Christian, he was drawing lines at who really are Christians. Apparently only those who follow cessationist conservative Evangelicalism are true Christians.
I'm sure there are good things coming out of this mission, I was just saddened at how limited a perspective they have. Serving Christ in a missional way involves so much more than getting people intellectually convinced about the facts of the Gospel. It is so much more organic and contextual than this "divine strategy for missions."
Labels: Church, mission