I love podcasts. In fact, I’m a podcast junkie. Podcasts help me do something productive on my morning commute to work and afternoon commute home. One of my favorite podcasts is the New Churches Q&A podcast. Last week, I ran across an episode discussing missional churches. The missional church movement has gained momentum over the years and more churches are thinking missiologically. The episode featured church planting expert J.R. Woodward. He ran through myths of missional churches that I wanted to share and reflect on in this post.
1. The Church has a mission to accomplish in the world.
On its face, that sounds great. But Woodward suggests that it’s God who has a mission to accomplish in the world. He just happens to include us in that mission. Sobering thoughts for those of us who consider ourselves on mission. The mission of the church is God at work through us.
2. The Gospel is about me and Jesus.
Woodward suggests that we’ve gotten it all wrong. He notes that the gospel is “communal and cosmic in nature” and not merely individualistic. A nice reminder for us not to preach an individualized gospel, but one where Christ reconciles all things to himself (Colossians 1:20).
3. Going to church proves that you’re a Christian.
A hearty amen to this myth. It brings to mind the great Billy Sunday quote: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to garage makes you an automobile”. What does this mean in terms of missions? Maybe we shouldn’t make missions a “come here” issue, but rather a “go there” issue. Inviting people to your church is great, but how about trying to meet with them on their terms and territory?
4. The Bible gives us a theology of mission.
Again, sounds great on its face. Woodward argues that mission doesn’t have to be justified by theology. Rather theology needs to be understood missiologically. Mission isn’t merely a hermeneutic tool, but the heartbeat of God’s plan.
5. The missional church is just another fad.
The Church has endured numerous fads over the years. According to Woodward, the missional church isn’t one of those fads. He believes the missional church is about seeing the church in the world in light of the triune God’s presence and activity. And that will never go away.
I appreciated this episode and liked what Woodward had to say about churches on mission. I look forward to checking out his book, Creating a Missional Culture, in the near future.