Tuesday is for Missional Thinking
*comments in red are Ed Stetzer’s; comments and points in black are mine
The following are comments and notes from a class with Ed Stetzer. Ed and I were scheduled to teach a class together one year at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School but it was canceled at the last minute. Too bad. Ed is a genius and a friend with a great sense of humor and we were looking forward to teaching together. I always look forward to my time with him. Below is a synopsis of a doctoral class I took with Ed back in 2009.
Overall: “We decline the ‘suffering’ that it, (multiplication), might include in the name of ‘church health.'”
“There is a creeping anti-missional mentality.” —-The idea here is that churches begin to make decisions based on what is best or most comfortable for the people who have already been reached rather than for the people who have not yet heard; the church chooses those with a home in Christ over those who are homeless (without Christ).
“The church (or denomination) begins to think more in terms of survival rather than mission.” —-This is related to the first idea above. The church becomes more risk averse. Without meaning to, their metaphor flips. The glass is now half-empty. Pessimism about the future or of the growth potential begins to increase. The church begins to act like corn in a drought. Leaves curl inward on itself to conserve moisture. In a similar way, the church, at the very time it needs to put out new tendrils and roots and explore new ways to reach the lost, pulls in and thinks almost exclusively in terms of conservation of resources for itself. A lot of churches fire their pastor or make radical changes in their leadership over these kind of issues.
The church begins to fight the tendency of all organizations, over time, to become self-protective. —-This is as true for the house church and more organic models of the church as it is for churches of every size from small to medium to the mega-church and all attractional models of the church. Over time, all organizations of people tend to lose focus on their founding passions and begin to make decisions based on their own survival.
All of these combine to put a damper on rapid-church multiplication.
If you want to start a church that has an evangelistic season of initial growth followed by a season of plateaued or diminishing impact for the gospel, ignore these observations.
But, if you want to start a church that multiplies churches and expands its impact for King and Kingdom, look for these tell-tale signs and nip them in the bud early by continually trumpeting the missional heart of God and the needs of the lost.
And call me if you need help. I would be honored to help in any way I can. This blog exists to help churches fight this non-multiplying tendency.
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