In this 5-on-5 series, we've asked 5 missional thinkers and practitioners 5 questions about the state of the Missional movement. Part 5, the final post of this series, is today. Here is the question we posed:
What’s the biggest barrier to the Missional movement right now?
Part 5: Biggest barrier to Missional:
Alan Hirsch, 100M:Right now I would root our most fundamental dysfunction in our inability to recognize the Way of Jesus and to form our congregations in that Way. We just don't look like Jesus! This is the deep spiritual malaise exposed by the recent US presidential election. American evangelicalism is much more merely culturally Christian than I ever though possible. This is basically a problem of discipleship which I sometimes think of as the right response to the fact that Jesus is both our Savior AND our Lord. We can't have the one without the other. We have an overdeveloped theology of salvation and an underdeveloped theology of Lordship/Kingdom.
David Bailey, Arrabon:The Missional Movement was mostly a movement of Gen X and now Gen X has gotten older and the Millennial Generation is coming into their own. The Millennial Generation, whether Christian or not, are more “missional” by nature in how they approach life, so this is a great opportunity. The barrier is that the Millennial Generation is more knowledgeable about injustice and 43% of Millennials are people of color. This creates a significant contextualization gap within the ‘missional movement’ that must be overcome. I see this as a significant barrier, but one that we can overcome!
Jessie Cruickshank, 100M:I think our intellectual egos are the greatest barrier to the Missional movement right now. To quote Dallas Willard, we are all educated way beyond our obedience. We read a book or go to a conference, hear and idea, get an intellectual high off it (literally) and then go home thinking because we connected to a concept that we are changed. This is not how transformation happens and it is a very dangerous practice, cognitively speaking. Those ideas can do little more to change our life than memorizing fruits that start with the letter Q. What is worse, we are now intellectually inoculated to the concepts. Because we think we know it, we pay less attention next time. The fruit of this practice is that nothing changes except the size of our book shelves.
JR Rozko, Missio Alliance:It’s relatively easy to understand how and why people would think of “becoming missional” as investing more time, energy, and resources in turning our attention outward. And of course a church that isn’t meaningfully engaged with its surrounding context is dead on the vine. Yet the principal idea of “being missional,” isn’t about our identity and what we are doing, but about God’s identity and what God is doing. From that perspective, if the missional movement is to have any true and lasting impact, it will entail a primary focus on Christian formation in/of community through worship, catechesis, and education. You can’t give what you don’t have and right now, by all appearances, there is precious little evidence that mainstream Christianity possesses much of the life that God means for us to offer the world around us.
Neil Cole, 100M:When people make the words important without any substantive practice attached to them, they end up redefining the words such that they have no meaning. Then it becomes a fad that never changed anything. Soon everyone can say, “We tried that back then…it doesn’t work.”