Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Missional Folks Don't Do Global Missions

Ed Stetzer discusses a question I have wondered about for a long time in this post. He says:

"I am writing this post from Taiwan. As I have been working with both local
leaders and American pastors, I have been struck by a few things and thought I
would share them with you.

First, I have traveled to Taiwan as a part of the Upstream Collective. The
reason is to accompany American pastors with a desire to be missional on a
cross-cultural, international encounter. (You can scroll down the last few posts
to learn what we are doing in Taiwan.)

Each person on the trip has the missional impulse as part of their DNA, and
they are here to consider how they might join God on his mission globally. While
I admire the faithfulness of these men, I must admit my surprise to see that
there is not a bigger interest in such global concerns among American pastors in
general. My fellow travelers seem to be rare of a breed in ministry.

Second, when I blogged about this on Sunday, two readers contacted my
hosts-- one working with the Presbyterian Church in America and one from the
Oversee Missionary Fellowship (OMF). Why? Well, according to one email, the
author explained, "I'm particularly interested in attracting young missional
church planters here."

Third, I was recently told by a pastor who called himself "missional"
that his church needed to pull back on their global mission support to help
their people "be missionaries right here."

All this provokes me to ask, "Why are so many missional Christians uninvolved in God's global mission?" As the missional conversation continues and deepens, what has occurred that has led to our blindness to the lost world around us?"

You can read his five reasons here. I am not sure he gets to the heart of it in his explanation. He basically says "Do both: social work and gospel preaching." But we already supposedly knew that; or did we? Am I the only one who notices a lot of Evangelicals doing the social work but neglecting to preach the Gospel of personal sin and salvation?

I wonder if the word "missional" has any value anymore. If it comes to refer to the prioritizing of social work over evangelization, then it will be just another name for theological liberalism. Can the two be held together? I don't really know at this point. Ask me in ten years.

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