What is Mission Not? // Day 19 // #Write31Days
So, here’s the thing, mission is not about ‘bums on seats’, it’s about bums in the kingdom… We really should not, and perhaps cannot, judge how well missional activities are doing by how many people then come to our Sunday morning services. There’s a whole ‘nother post there about the future of church not being Sunday morning, but for now I shall restrain myself! For many, as I have written before, stepping over the threshold of a church is an absolute barrier as big as a brick wall. So when we are reaching out, we have to do it with the intention of sharing Jesus and aiming to make disciples, at their pace and not trying to shoehorn them through the front door.
This then makes for interesting thinking when we consider church statistics. It seems that these are still counted largely on those who attend the main services which is inherently flawed. What about those on the fringe, in our community cafe, or toddler mornings or chat groups, what about those who attend Alpha and other course but can’t quite make it to the church building. What is the point of having numbers telling us how many people come to our church building ay one particular time? because those are the figures that seem to show decline. However, look at the projects churches run and you often get a bigger picture. I met a woman yesterday who faithfully attends the toddler group at her local church and it has been a lifeline for her. Yesterday she then came to a new informal service the church put on, with her toddler. As far as I know she is on the very edge of the church and yet it is reaching her, helping her, and to some extent beginning to disciple her.
in 2014 a report came out called From Anecdote to Evidence, from the people at ‘Church Growth Research‘ and for those involved in mission you will have seen it, but if not, I wanted to give it a mention as it is really rather good, looking at church growth and what’s working, what isn’t. There’s also lots in there about Fresh Expressions of Church which I am big fan of (working for one helps!) which are generally by their nature missional. What is key is that people are willing to change, and that has to be something we focus on in the future of mission and church.