I heard a seminary professor say that the church needed to “recover strong churchmanship.” I am not sure I have ever heard someone use the word churchmanship, but I am pretty sure his point was that we needed to learn to “do” church better. Then I read these compelling words from Lesslie Newbigin:

The Church is the sign and first-fruit and instrument [of the kingdom]. If this is done, the Church will be delivered from the tendency to turn in upon itself and will always be turned outward to the world. It will know itself to be wholly committed in every part to the task of witness to the world in word and in service. It will understand that participation in Christ means participation in His mission to the world, and that therefore true pastoral care, true training in the Christian life, and true use of the means of grace will precisely be in and for the discharge of this missionary task.

Speaking in terms of the experience of the village church in India as I know it, this will mean that a newly baptized congregation will not be trained first in churchmanship and then in missionary responsibility to neighboring villages. It will receive its training in churchmanship precisely in the discharge of its missionary responsibility. ”Consolidation” will not be the alternative to advance; on the contrary, advance will be the method of consolidation. “Consolidation” for the Church of Christ ought not to mean becoming solidly settled on foundations which belong to this world; it should mean accepting and embodying in its life complete solidarity with Him who had not where to lay His head, and agonizing with Him for the whole world. ~ Lesslie Newbigin; The Household of God

Our current process of training was designed for a Christendom churched culture in which congregations were led by a pastor whose gifts were largely those of the shepherd-teacher. Today’s seminary offerings in counseling, preaching, church administration and methodologies of growth will not develop apostolic missional leaders.