I’ve been reading a book that is really challenging me to Re-Think the church. Reggie McNeal’s newest book “Missional Renaissance,” does what the United Methodist slogan challenges us to do, Re-Think church and not just use it as a slogan. I’ve talked about one of his major points for some time now in my own Hospitality Evangelism workshops I do for churches. The move is for the church to go from attractional to incarnational. All program oriented church use as one of their strategies, attracting persons to the church building. We have gone as far as saying attracting people to the church, as if the church was the buildings. In fact we call the place we worship – the church and even call worshp, church when in fact we the people of Christ are the church.
To be incarnational as I understand it is to take Christ along wherever we go. We are a representative of Christ at all times and all places. That re-defines what church is right there. The church is not a place to come to, or even an event, the church is a going body of believers who in the most natural of ways represents Christ to all. The trouble with the attractional model is that it has already worked on most of the people it is going to work on, according to McNeal. So now we must send people out to create missional communities, not congregations. I said this book would challenge our understandings and cause us to think again. Missional communities are person of like mind to have an affinity for gathering together. I will use the Church Under the Bridge teams as good examples of a missional community. The thing that gathers them together is a love for Christ and a passion for bringing Christ to the homeless. They become the church to persons on the street in downtown San Antonio. Missional communities can be oriented around almost anything that would bring glory to God! The incarnational church will create missional communities around things like, mentoring elementary school kids, studying, advocating for the aging, spiritual and personal growth, unwed teen mothers, you name it a group could form around these passions. I’m personally looking for a group who wants to work in our local elementary schools next Fall alieviating hunger on weekends through a back pack ministry. What is God calling you to impact? So look forward to a church that is much different in the future, one that may not even ever come together. Wow, how would we know who that belong too? Oh that’s right -Jesus! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go.