Our house doesn’t work. We bought it when we moved to Cabramatta to plant a church. Ten years…
Outsourcing Mission – Department or Main Purpose?
- Inherited church tends to assume that mission is one of many things that the church does, rather than the main thing.
- Most churches have programs or departments that look after various activities.
- Evangelism (rather than ‘mission’) is either a department or a task of the departments.
- ‘Missions’ is something that happens ‘overseas’. It isn’t something we do. We send money so that others can do it. If it is on the agenda it is outsourced to professionals and exported or it is about fund-raising.
- Mission is disconnected from real life.
Pastors and leaders get trapped in the machine.
- The pastoral task is tending the sheep or using another metaphor, looking after the shop – providing religious goods and services to attract new customers and keep existing ones.
- Pastors, leaders and key disciples (the ones who actually get it) are too busy looking after the consumers to engage personally in mission.
- Consumer church breed consumers, not disciples – what you attract them with, you attract them to.
Going to meetings instead of following Jesus.
- The people of God are busy going to meetings thinking that this is what God requires of them – attend and put your money in the plate.
- Evangelism is attractional. The goal is to attract people to church meetings. Programs are designed to attract people to the church or to keep them there once they’ve been attracted.
- Evangelism is also extractional. The idea is that new believers join the ‘church’. As they are brought into the church they are extracted from their relational web. Joining means attending various church meetings and programs, especially the Sunday shows. After two years, most new Christians have lost contact with their former friends.
- The main method of evangelism is outreach. However, ‘outreach’ is really ‘in-drag’. Raiding parties are sent out from the church to catch unwary seekers and bring them back to the ‘safety’ of the church.
D.Dualistic Assumptions – God is in the house:
- God is ‘in here’ with us, rather than ‘out there’. If people want God, they have to come to us.”
- This is a form of dualism that divides the world into sacred and secular. God acts in the church, among his people, but not ‘out there’ in his world.
- Prevenient Grace precedes and prepares us for conversion. God is always ‘out there’ among the ‘sinners’. If we want to join in what he is doing we need to be ‘out there’ as well.
E.Fishing in a shrinking pond.
- Most Western people are simply not interested in the religious goods and services we provide. They are not attracted by anything we do.
- NCLS Survey results:
5% – Regular church attenders (twice per month)
13% – Annual church connection (including Catholics)
12-15% – within the cultural reach of contemporary church
80%+ lie outside the reach of organised church
- We live in a post-Christendom era This is a mission context. Outreach methods only work within the (rapidly shrinking) churched sector.
- There is an unprecedented openness to spiritual things, but the Christian church isn’t seen as a place to pursue a spiritual quest.