In this 5-on-5 series, we've asked 5 missional thinkers and practitioners 5 questions about the state of the Missional movement. Part 1 is today, and here is the question we posed:
I guess you can debate the real “start” of the Missional movement in the Western Church. But let’s say it started roughly 15-20 years ago. What do you think is the biggest positive change that’s happened in that time as a result of the Missional shift?
Part 1: Biggest positive change as result of the missional shift:
Alan Hirsch, 100M:Yeah, the discipline of missional theology traces back to the early 20th Century, but the movement to apply its insights to our understanding of the church and how we engage in society is a much more recent affair. I am always amazed that for so long the church had managed to factor it out of its thinking. The biggest change is that we can now no longer think of church, theology, discipleship without having to take into account the mission of God in and through Jesus and our ongoing responsibility to participate in it.
David Bailey, Arrabon:When I talk about the “missional movement”, it’s important to make a distinction between the white evangelical Christian community and Christian communities of Color. What’s considered the “missional movement” is an awakening within white evangelical churches to see mission within their community and not only in an international context. In the African-American and Immigrant church communities, not being missional historically was never an option. Loving God and your local neighbor has been inseparable in these traditions. It’s good to see God awakening this in idea in the majority white evangelical church.
Jessie Cruickshank, 100M:I love that we are looking much more at the bible for our understanding of who the church is and what she looks like (practices, etc). The conversation about who God created the church to be is much more ubiquitous and that is great progress. Change starts by asking better questions.
JR Rozko, Missio Alliance: From where I sit, the most positive change that the missional conversation has brought about is the introduction of missional theology to a wider (more mainstream) group of Christian leaders, especially pastors. This actually represents a two-fold shift. The first shift is the (re)prioritization of theology as vital to the task of faithful church leadership. The missional conversation has helped us to see that faithfulness in our day is not merely a matter of adjusting our techniques and strategies to accommodate new cultural trends, but revisiting some of our most fundamental theological assumptions. The second shift is the (re)centering of missiology as the basis of how we do theology in the first place and how to employ theology in the life of the Church for the sake of the world.
Neil Cole, 100M: Church has questioned its true purpose and intent and aligned more with a healthy DNA (at least in word) since I started working. Church planting has increased. Talk of multiplication has increased. Discussion of disciple-making has raised.
Part 2 of this 5-on-5 series will post later this week and will explore this question: "You’ve been a key voice in this conversation and, I’d argue, really important to the shaping of the future of the Western Church. If you had to choose the idea you’ve added that’s the most important for the church at large, what would it be and why?"