We all have an imagination, but many of us don’t think that we do. Christianity has been so shaped by Western logic we can’t even see that the logic we use is itself a kind of imagination. It’s just not a very imaginative one. Still we all have one.
And I have found that when it comes to the idea of “missional”, being a missional people and leading in missional ways, we all come to the topic with an imagination about what missional is. Sadly, most of us need our imaginations reframed. How do we do this?
Step #1: Realize that you already have an imagination. See introductory paragraphs above. Now begin to articulate what that is.
Step #2: Imagine that “missional” might actually mean more than what you now know. If you want to learn something new, you have to make space in your mind to ask different questions.
Step #3: Stop thinking that “missional” is first about how to do church better. If you have not truly done Step 2, then this will be a shocker. It was for me when I first started really thinking about it. The question about the form or structure that the church should take only comes after we engage the questions of how the Gospel intersects our context. Read, Alan Roxburgh’s new book “Missional.” If you are not convinced after reading that, then ignore the rest of this post.
Step #4: Start talking to people in your neighborhood, without any agenda to get them in your church. Just get to know them and hear what they are facing in life. Listen to their stories. Begin to pray for them.
Step #5: Ask how the Gospel might become “good news” to the people in your neighborhood.
Step #6: Allow church practices to develop in ways that fit the people.
Step #7: Realize that the development of an imagination does not occur through a linear step-by-step process. But at least this gets us started in that direction.