Here I need to make a confession. I confess that I have been guilty as anyone in the past in grabbing hold of the latest ‘Magic Bullet’ for mission. This is the ‘latest thing’, almost always arriving from overseas – the program, technique or missional approach that will rapidly increase our missional fruit, something we all want and pray for.
Who wouldn’t want such a thing, and yes these ‘magic bullets’ have worked, but never as much or for as long as their proponents claimed. Results are always patchy and tend to disappoint, so the time comes when the hunt for the next ‘Magic Bullet’ recommences, and there has always been one coming along. There are at least two floating around the Australian mission landscape as I write.
Experience has shown however that ‘Magic Bullets’ are a bit like cigarettes or alcohol when it comes to importing them into the country. We know that both of the latter can be brought into Australia on your return from your overseas holiday, however, only in limited quantities. If you have more than the permitted allowance, Customs will confiscate them, and now out of my quite extensive ‘grab the magic bullet’ experience I have developed the theory that something similar happens with ‘Magic Bullets’. It seems that there is only so much ‘Magic’ that can be legally imported into the country, and if the limited allowance is exceeded then it is confiscated by Customs. I suspect in fact that there is a store room in every customs hall with ‘Magic Store’ on the door. Thus the ‘Magic Bullets’ that we do get to use have very limited magic remaining, just enough to work to some extent but in a quite limited and not long lasting way.
In fact, one thing we should have learned by now is that Magic Bullets don’t travel well, in fact most of the Magic is lost in the Customs hall. This is the case whether they are from the USA, United Kingdom or Asia.
So, I think it’s time to forgo the ‘Magic Bullet’ import and start to develop indigenous missional methods which grow out of the soil of our own missional landscape. The ‘Unbounded Church’ concept (not model) encourages the setting free of the New Testament ecclesiology (doctrine of church) to be expressed in an unlimited number of forms of church indigenous to their context, and culturally accessible by the particular tribe or tribes of their location.
It’s not magic and it’s not rocket science just applied biblical theology.