I offer these searching questions as we begin our 2007 journey of Lent. They certainly got me to thinking differently on a couple of points. I hope you find them helpful.
Maintenance or Missional
- In measuring its effectiveness, the maintenance congregation asks, “How many visitors have we attracted?” The missional congregation asks, “How many members have we sent?”
- When contemplating some form of change, the maintenance congregation says, “If this proves upsetting to any of our members, we won’t do it.” The missional congregation says, “If this will help us bless and touch someone outside of our faith community, we will take the risk and do it.”
- When thinking about change, the majority of members in a maintenance congregation ask, “How will this affect me?” The majority of members in the missional congregation ask, “Will this help align our activities around the missio dei — the mission of God?”
- When thinking of its vision for ministry, the maintenance congregation says, “We have to be faithful to our past.” The missional congregation says, “We have to be faithful to our future.”
- The pastor in the maintenance congregation says to the newcomer, “I’d like to introduce you to some of our members.” In the missional congregation the members say, “We’d like to introduce you to our pastor.”
- When confronted with a legitimate pastoral concern, the pastor in the maintenance congregation asks, “How can I meet this need?” The pastor in the missional congregation asks, “How can we meet this need?”
- The maintenance congregation seeks to avoid conflict at any cost (but rarely succeeds). The missional congregation understands that conflict is the price of progress, and is willing to pay the price. It understands that it cannot take everyone with it. This causes some grief, but it does not keep it from doing what needs to be done.
- The leadership style in the maintenance congregation is primarily managerial, where leaders try to keep everything in order and running smoothly. The leadership style in a missional congregation is primarily transformational, casting a vision of what can be, and marching off the map in order to bring the vision into reality.
- The maintenance congregation is concerned with their congregation, its organizations and structure, its constitutions and committees. The missional congregation is concerned with the culture, with understanding how secular people think and what makes them tick. It tries to determine their needs and their points of accessibility to the Gospel.
- When thinking about growth, the maintenance congregations asks, “How many Christians, who aren’t currently members, live within a twenty-minute drive of this church?” The missional congregation asks, “How many unreached people groups live within a twenty-minute drive of this church?”
- . The maintenance congregation looks at the community and asks, “How can we get these people to come to our church?” The missional congregation asks, “How can we go and be engaged with these people?”
- The maintenance congregation thinks about how to save their congregation. The missional congregation thinks about how to plant new missional communities to extend the
. Kingdomof God