I’m a total sci-fi fanatic. Hazards of my day time profession i think. Most of the sci-fi, post-apocalyptic movies or books that come out get me all pumped up. I’m fascinated with the concept of how humanity survives when the existing structures previously depended upon on are no longer dependable. when those natural resources that we once took fro granted no longer exist. In some ways, this is how I lean into “being the church.” How can the Western body of Christ survive the impending collapse? How will the mission of the church survive the future? What has happened to the old church?
Cultivating a missional perspective is one of the most important recalibrations that a church can make for the future. I am greatly encouraged by this move, but I’ve observed that when a church “goes missional,” often they make a fundamental misstep that I believe fractures the longevity of missional momentum. Innocently, many churches begin to preach, teach and stir up their congregants to live missionally, but often it is anchored in and fueled by individualism.
Typically, the burden falls on individuals to get motivated enough by this new theology. High emphasis is placed on “me” to use “my” capacities to be missional. In many ways, this mode places emphasis on an insidious drive embedded in Western culture: individual productivity. Being missional can easily become a new collection of readily accessible methods in being productive. I’m convinced a missional life cannot be sustained individually.
Those of us born and bred in the good ol’ U.S.A. approach things with a hyper-individualistic orientation. We are weaned on the idea of autonomy, when it comes to our ability to climb the spiritual ladder. We naturally envision ourselves “taking on” or “collapsing under” whatever spiritual challenge is laid out before us. This is not the imagination of the New Testament family. This is not the mechanism for missional traction. This individualistic framework threatens the future of the missional movement. It threatens the gospel’s impulse in a real-time place and neighborhood. A paradigm shift must take place.