Friday, January 19, 2007

the structure of church

Let me just say that my missiology class has been kicking my butt. Here are some notes from Thursday.

How does placing mission in the very being of God shape the way we do mission?

The problem was and is “that the very forms of congregational life were a major hindrance to the Church's evangelism.” “There are evidently structures which make it difficult or even impossible for the Word to reach the congregation, for the congregation to reach others and for others to reach the congregation. The congregation preaches not only with its proclamation but also with its structures and these can have and effect which is practically hostile to mission.” Dr. Werner Krusche

“The Church‑centred missiology of the 1950s [and today] had[s] inevitably raised the question of the forms of the Church's life. To be convinced on biblical and theological grounds that the Church not only has a missionary task but is itself the form of God's mission (‘As the Father sent me so send I you’) was to be driven to acknowledge that congregations as we know them are not structured for mission. They reflect the assumptions of the Christendom era that the whole of society is already baptized and therefore within the Church. They invite people to come out of the world into the Church: they do not themselves go into the world as those who are sent by God.”

Ecclesiocentrism, in other words, presupposed that the form of the churches were correct. Rediscovering the missionary nature of the church demanded a corresponding stimulation of missionary structures. “What changes in the external structure and self-understanding of the local congregation are needed for it to be able to witness credibly to the message of the kingdom of God in a secular world of rapid social change?” These questions were being asked in the 1950's and we are largely still int he same place 50 years later and the question is still out there.

What say you?

1 comment:

Sarah Louise said...

Hard questions--I'm glad to be in a place where they can be wrestled with.