Missional misfire or missional challenge?

It seems that Kevin DeYoung is not taken with Reggie McNeal’s recent book Missional Renaissance, and his three part review of the book last week is starting to cause a stir in the missional community.

To start off with, have a read of the introductory exerpt from McNeal’s book here and read a couple of favourable reviews here and here – just to give you a flavour of what it’s all about.

Then read DeYoung’s review and comments, Part 1, Part 2, Part 2 Addendum and Part 3.

Then read Bill Kinnon’s reaction here.

I know it’s a lot of reading – but all good stuff that will get you thinking about missional issues.

Personally, I think the whole missional, organic, emergent thingy going on at the moment is brilliant, because it’s making the established church rethink its praxis.  However, the reaction of some is to hold on tighter to what they’ve already got rather than to take the opportunity to critically question how to make things better!

The result is heated discussions which seem to polarise the situation – and we the readers are then asked to choose – established, traditional church or missional, organic church – the impression is that there is no half way house, that it is one or the other, that they are mutually exclusive and cannot thrive together.

Well, I refuse to choose – sorry!  Why can’t we have both – the traditional church revived by organic, missional and emergent expression?

In this instant I feel justified in nailing my colours firmly to the fence – because I think this is where the church needs to be!  Seriously.

I’m going to keep an eye on developments in the blogosphere over the next few days – it will be interesting to see who else wades into the discussion.

Any thoughts after all that?

2 thoughts on “Missional misfire or missional challenge?

  1. Martin – Thanks for pointing out this conversation to me and all the links. I’m anxious to read "Missional Renaissance." And I read DeYoung’s analysis. DeYoung makes many valid points, but…I think you nail it on the head – must we choose? Or, as you put it: "Why can’t we have both – the traditional church revived by organic, missional and emergent expression?"I’m baffled at the "battles" so many in the DeYoung camp choose to spend their time and energy fighting! Come on, Reggie McNeal concerns you!? We’ve got far bigger battles to fight and more important biblical debates to engage…Peace bro.


  2. Much of American church still seems so very different to UK church culture, even though the desire to mimic the USA is creeping into UK church life. I therefore find that trying to apply discussion of American church to UK church culture needs wisdom and prayerful consideration to avoid the UK simply addressing issues that aren’t entirely relevant.But despite that, how can you take the gospel seriously and disagree with shifts that McNeal says are needed:1. Shift from an internal to an external focus.2. Shift from program development to people development.3. Shift from church-based leadership to kingdom-based leadership [assuming that McNeal is meaning leadership that is not focussed on the needs of the church rather than the wider community].And I agree that there shouldn’t need to be a choice. If what is described as "traditional church" and what is described as "Kingdom Values" are not fully compatible then we’ve got our descriptions wrong – either "traditional church" isn’t church as the bible portrays it or what is called "Kingdom Values" actually have little to do with the Kingdom of God.


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