If a rediscovery of mission will bring new life to the church in the west; then consumerism may be it’s death. The church, if it goes unchallenged will consume great Bible teaching; it will also consume community, serving experiences and even worship. But now an important question is emerging, “How do we keep churches from consuming mission?” It is not a ridiculous question! Who doesn’t like to be a part of a cause greater than themselves? Don’t most people like to think they are making a difference? Doesn’t being on a mission appeal to an intrinsic felt-need that is in all of us? I believe the answer is “yes” to all those questions. And beware – after mission is consumed, if it stops feeling good, worthwhile and meeting needs, people will quit the mission! So back to our important question: “How do we keep churches from making mission one more product they consume?” Two suggestions:
- Missionary As Identity – If we want the people in our churches to engage in mission we must make sure they understand that being a missionary is not something you consume, it is your identity. We must help them do the kind of spiritual formation that understands we worship the Missio Dei, and this missionary God sent His son, and His son sent the Spirit, and the Spirit of God sends us. If we can help the people in our churches see that we are missionaries, then mission will not simply be another program to consume, it will become their identity.
- Missional Practices – To reinforce our identity as missionaries every church needs to teach and hold their people accountable for simple missional practices. At COMMUNITY, we are teaching our people five simple missional practices that are based on Genesis 12 that “we are blessed to be a blessing.” These five missional practices are an acronym that make up the word B.L.E.S.S. (more to come on these practices soon). These missional practices will not only reinforce our missionary identity but also create a missional culture within a church.
I believe that the church in the west must rediscover it’s mission; but at the same time we must be aware of mission becoming one more product for the church to consume! What else do we need to do to keep our people from just consuming mission? I would love to hear your thoughts!