If friend were to drop you off at an airport and all you had was airplanes which you were supposed to board for your trip, you might think, “What an efficient airport. It only has the most important part." However, unless the airplanes are very small and you are flying a very short distance, then such an airport would only be a nice place to park planes.
Think about it this way. Think of a missional community as a Boeing 777 jet. But most people in America are not ready and equipped to fully commit to life in a missional community in healthy ways. This is especially true of Christians who are accustomed to traditional forms of church life. So the weekend service could play the function of the ticketing area in an airport. And connecting communities could play the function of the terminals that get you to the airplanes.
There are those who castigate traditional church services and traditional church programs in hopes that disparaging words will promote the vision for missional community. And there are definitely churches today that only focus on missional community. But most established churches do not have the option of doing away with what they are doing in order to promote missional communities. They have people in their churches who have been shaped by an attractional church imagination and they need to be discipled and equipped to take steps toward missional community.
The ticketing area and the terminals can be venues for equipping people for life in the airplane of missional community. The problem is that our church systems have focused primarily on getting people to attend our worship services and then secondarily on getting them to attend our connecting programs. Think about what we measure. That which we measure reveals our foci. If we started measuring how many people we are discipling to move from our connecting small groups and other connecting programs into missional life, how might we change the way we do weekly worship and our various connecting venues?
This is the fifth entry in the Is Both/And Possible? series. Click here for previous posts. For the next entry click here.