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11/01/2006

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“We have been raised with the idea that much of our life and our responsibilities as Christians are reflected in the weekly church service.”

I humbly suggest that such “absolute” statements make good copy, but the reality is that for a large majority of Christians I’ve known over the past 40 years there is little veracity to it. Here in the Pacific Northwest part of the U.S., an active missional focus has always been what the journey is about – not attending a weekly church service. I’m not suggesting that others have had a different experience, it is the absoluteness of the statement that I object to. EM leaders need to learn not to project their own negative personal experiences on all fellow believers.

Indeed Blind Beggar... I completely agree... we should always be aware of the danger of projection!

but... my experience (of many churches) in the UK, is that though Churches may talk about Mission, what they 'mean' is Evangelism through Missions, not Mission in the wholistic and continuous sense, for reasons of recruitment to "church" i.e. the Sunday service. It seems to me that Cell Church has largely "failed" to take hold because Churches find it very hard to see beyond the corporate meeting/service. The 'problem' is probably equal parts affiliative community, maintenance agenda and ecclesial soteriology.

Mark: I agree completely with your comment about what is often meant by "Mission." I can't speak for the UK, but there are certainly many Christians here is the US who view themselves as "missional" simply because they financially support the missions program of the church or denomination.

Missional must be, as you stated so well, "holistic and continuous." It requires that the average Christian get off there backside and, as Ryan Bolger says, “be active, ...be a producer in the faith community, to share the burden, [these] are the birth pangs in the formation of a missional community.”

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