Time for a Break Not Cherry Picking

I get to talk to a lot of Pastors of mainline congregations. Some show interest when I explain the Missional Community (Unbounded church) vision, and a few, a very few, come along to the seminars I run from time to time. Of those that do come, it is depressing to see that while showing interest they often just want to ‘cherry-pick’ bits of what they learn which they think might be helpful to getting a few more ‘bums on seats’ at their ‘Sunday- Centric, In-Drag, Christendom-Form’ (SIC) church services.

Putting this another way, they do not understand that the establishment of networks of Missional Communities (of all shapes, sizes and styles) that have been shown to achieve significantly fruitful missional outcomes, far outweighing current methods, requires a complete break from the current approach. This is because our times are truly unique.

What makes them unique can be summed up in one word ‘Change’. Never in human history has socio-cultural change been so rapid, ongoing and accelerating. For this reason no church model that is not highly flexible, adaptable and able to constantly reinvent itself will be able to achieve significant missional fruit in the surging waves of change that are pounding western society. The idea that any model of church (denomination) created in 450 years ago or so in Christendom Europe for the maintenance of ‘Christian’ congregations (and never designed for mission to its own culture) can be the vehicle for mission into the Kaleidoscope of constantly morphing socio-cultural, ‘Live, work and play’ universes in which contemporary westerners live their lives, simply beggars belief.

Yet despite the unarguable evidence of chronic and entrenched missional failure the vast majority of pastors and congregation members continue to exhibit a paralysis of thinking and frozen imaginations as to how the crisis of missional failure should be met.

It is urgently time for a break; a break away from the current and almost ubiquitous forms of church and associated anachronistic missional strategies to become a-

“Church as we haven’t known it
for a Society as we haven’t known it”

As a highly placed member of the church hierarchy said to me recently “No one will do anything before it is too late”. Yet day by day ‘the iceberg looms larger’.

The urgently needed new missional strategies, the wineskins of New Mission, cannot be ‘cherry-picked’ and some parts incorporated into the “Old wineskins” of the current model of church and mission for they will split and leak badly, and soon there will be no wine left!

“Church as we haven’t known it
for a Society as we haven’t known it”

Pastors, it is time for a break, a complete break for these times are dire and truly unique. Our model is broken and chronically ill suited for the times and like ‘Humpty Dumpty’ cannot be put together again. The wine of the gospel is being wasted in anachronistic models, and the cherry picking of ideas and trying to incorporate them into those models will do nothing to alleviate the failure.

The result dooms increasing numbers of those stumbling in spiritual darkness to the awful horror of an eternity without God.

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