I know I’ve railed about this before, and if you’re tired of it and wish to pass on this post, please forgive me and feel free to move on.
In the “Ministry vs. Mission” post, it is phrased by an elder interviewing minister candidates: Are you a minister or an evangelist? (In other words, is your focus “inner” or “outer”?)
In the “Defining Missional” post (the earlier one of the two), it’s found in the comments as a description of the differences among traditional, contemporary and missional churches.
I think the choice is artificial.
Minister candidates should answer that elder’s question, “Yes.”
Churches should avoid labels like “traditional,” “contemporary” and “missional” like they were invented by Satan himself. In fact, I’m not so certain that …
Okay, I’ll back off. But isn’t the purpose of labels to divide (and conquer)? To say one is better than the other? More necessary? Morally right? Scripturally defensible?
And shouldn’t all churches be concerned about keeping their members, attracting non-members to Christ AND serving the Lord and the communities they are in?
Shouldn’t all ministers?
I respect John Alan and prefer the way he asks his question: “Which way does your church lean?” It’s more realistic; less absolute. And it has, implicit within it, an expression of danger that “leaning” too far in any given direction will put a church off-balance.
Now I have a question.
Why do we try to limit ourselves, our ministries, our success and God’s preferences by phrasing things like this in mutually-exclusive, “either-or” terms?