I'm in one of those less-than-active brain periods. Trying hard to get up and running, but... That's a big part of why I haven't been very present in the Missional Synchoblog stuff taking place over the last few days. Lots of good discussion going on...
Two and a half years in, and I still believe in the Church.
And not just my particular community... Church with that capital C, you know?
There are a lot of reasons why people plant churches... some good, some less-than-good. The comforting thing to me is that in spite of the mixed grab bag of reasons we bring to this endeavor, whether it be pride, or ambition, or desperation, God still uses all that. He still finds pleasure in His people trying to do something that matters, trying to live out Christian community in the hopes that they'll be able to follow Christ together in a way that makes a difference for those around them.
My friend Ollie, when he was being ordained in the Anglican church was asked "Why do you want to be a priest?" His answer was, "Because I can't do anything else!"
The examining board was impressed and passed him thru, and it wasn't until later that he realized their mistake.
They had misunderstood... He wasn't saying he had a huge burden to be a priest, to minister to others, to lead... He was saying that he honestly felt like he wouldn't even be a Christian if he didn't approach it that way- it was too hard for him.
That's kind of how I feel about church.
I need it.
And yeah, that's an admission of weakness.
When I think about the christian life, I really don't think I'd be doing much at all disconnected from a Christian community. If there weren't people all trying to get on the same page with me, struggling through similar issues, talking things out, praying for me, encouraging me, at times correcting me... I think my spiritual life would be pretty academic. Maybe some blips on the radar now & again... but I have a feeling I would settle into a comfortable life with the god of my choosing and completely miss the God who tends to whisper through brothers and sisters and the spoken Word and times of worship, and community dinners and all the rest. Maybe you are different than me. Maybe you could survive being a free-range Christian... but not me. I need community. I need church. And I have a feeling that a lot of people are like me...
And maybe that's a big reason why church matters.
In spite of all the "issues", in spite of the hard work it takes to sustain community, in spite of all the voices questioning whether we really need church...
So, I agree with all (okay- most!) of the definitions of Missional I'm reading out there... and I'll add my $.02.
Missional is... planting church communities that live out the Gospel in and for the cities and communities in which God has placed them.