A couple of days ago I shared with you a post entitled “How To Be Missional.” It was written by Jonathan Dodson of Austin City Life church in Austin, Texas.
Today, I’d like to share a series of three posts that Jonathan wrote and posted on his blog this past fall. The series is entitled “How Not To Be Missional.” The links below are to the Resurgence blog publication of the articles.
Dodson begins the series by saying that, “The missional church movement has been good and bad. On a positive note, let’s focus on the bad.”
He then writes about three approaches to ministry that churches emphasize in an effort to be missional, or to be what they think is missional. According to Dodson, these approaches do not necessarily accomplish their intended goal for a number of reasons. They may, in fact, actually have the opposite or a negative effect.
The three approaches are to be strictly:
The ministry approach that I was particularly interested in reading about was the “event-driven” approach. One point that Dodson makes in this article is that “event-driven mission is very often consumerist,” that it appeals to the “consumer-in-want-of-stuff, not the sinner-in-need-of-grace.”
I agree completely with Jonathan on this point.
As churches seek to reach people for Christ, we must be careful that we do not feed people’s consumerist appetites by planning and providing bigger and better, more inticing events, in an effort to draw and gain people’s attention and their attendance. To do so only feeds the raging sin of middle class consumerism (Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p.43).
If events, as good as they may be, drive our ministries, we are sending a wrong message to people about what is most important in their lives and in our ministries. The medium becomes the message and that can quickly obscure the real message that people need to hear – the Good News of God’s love in Christ for sinful humanity and His call on our lives to be His disciples and makers of disciples.