The Missional Challenge

. August 1, 2011
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Take a look at Ed Stetzer's post The Compartmentalized Mission.

In different ways, missions have been compartmentalized. What became of this is a view of missions as a specific activity or ministry of the church and only specially called people participated in it.... The challenge is that many of us have not yet figured out how to be sent into our own community. Being missional means we have to live sent here, to our place and among our people....

Often, pastors and leaders hear about what’s going on with Wayne Cordeiro in Hawaii or Andy Stanley in Atlanta, and say, “I want to be just like that.” What happens is that you begin to think that the key to what they have done is the way in which they have done ministry. It is easy to forget that when we are sent to a place, and that, in many ways, the how of missional ministry is determined by the who, when, and where of culture.

The National Debt Clock
Yes, we've created false distinctions. There are also some real differences. As Ed points out, ministry looks different depending on our circumstances. Overseas missionaries struggle with funding, language/culture, and isolation.

On the other hand, there are unique challenges to sharing the gospel within our own shores. We have a much larger task, since our home culture no longer understands the relevance of the message.

We need to apply theology to Tiger Woods, the debt ceiling debate, and the crash of 2008. Few are going to accuse the gospel of irrelevancy if we show that the world is fallen in specific ways and that the gospel addresses those problems in equally specific ways.

Most American Christians can't do this yet. We live in a foreign land when it comes to communicating our worldview.

That's a missional challenge worthy of our attention.