Here is an interesting video dialog (produced/edited by Bill Kinnon) between Alan Roxbugh and Pat Keifert. They discuss a wide range of issues, including definitions/descriptions of missional church, common views of the contemporary church, and leadership in missional congregations.
In the discussion on leadership I appreciate Keifert’s emphasis on leadership being more about time than about a position. He speaks about the leader cultivating segments of time to assist the congregation in discerning what God is doing in their local context. It is about taking the time to create environments for people to dwell in the Word. It is about having the time to be patient — to hear from God and to hear from each other.
Another topic that I found interesting dealt with Keifert’s journey towards the missional church conversation. He shares how it involved both “failure” and “discovery.” The failure involved disenchantment with his own ministry experience in a traditional church. The discovery included the reading of Newbigin’s “Foolishness to the Greeks.”
I think Keifert’s journey parallels the experience of many. There is a deep sense of uneasiness, frustration, or even failure in a current ministry setting. Church leaders recognize something isn’t right about how they do ministry. They sense that something has changed, but they are unsure about the essence of the change, or what changes might be necessary. At some point, however, they “discover” that others have experienced the same anxiety. They “discover” authors that begin to give language to these changes. Perhaps, like Keifert its Newbigin, or Bosch; or more recently, maybe it is Guder, Van Gelder, Hirsch, or Frost. But regardless of the author, they rediscover the missionary nature of God and His church, and the reality that the church is sent into the mission field that is now North America.
This has certainly been my journey. I wonder about your experience. Has failure + discovery propelled you into the missional conversation?