Monday, December 14, 2009

What kind of church?

This is not an original thought of mine I must point out, but it's a useful observation that bears some thought. It's about defining the kind of church we are, and it goes like this:

There are ABC churches. Attractional, Buildings, Cash.

And there are MRI churches. Missional, Relational, Incarnational.

Now here's a question: If we focus on the ABC's will the MRI's happen? However, if we focus on the MRI's will the ABC's get done?

If we live missionally, build relationships, incarnate the gospel, then will that not produce fruit that makes the community of faith attractive? And it turn might that not cause the church to grow releasing resources for the kingdom both of people and finances?

But then again is that actually the point?

Perhaps the ABC's will take care of themselves, but if we're not careful, even assuming that to be true once again makes them the focus of our efforts not the things that might just matter most to God.

Maybe we need to remember that the only things we can take with us into heaven are our friends and family who find faith.

I guess what we need to do is carefully and prayerfully discern God's call, to seek to join him in his mission and seek out more opportunities to do the work of the kingdom by being followers of Christ.

It got me thinking about something John Ortberg once said about the shadow missions that some churches have. These are the unwritten missions that can draw us away from the mission to which God calls us all. They are not far away from the true mission, but they are far enough to deflect us from our true target.

Perhaps the MRI/ABC question is related to our shadow mission. The need to fill seats, to raise budgets and enlarge buildings could all be positive aspects of our true mission, but they could equally be a distraction from it.

On the other hand I could just be rambling!

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