Combat-Oriented Soldiering (and other redundant adjectives)
If I had £1 for every time I’ve heard that particular adjective in the last 6 months or so I’d be a happy lad.
The more I hear this word- and what it is touted as meaning- the more uncomfortable I become with using it and the more I begin to think that it is utterly redundant as an adjective for the church and for Christian leadership in general.
Underpinning the term ‘Missional’ is the presupposition (true, from my perspective) that God is a sending God, that the church shares in God’s mission and that it is better to say that God’s mission has a church than that the church has a particular mission. But if this is true theologically, then the term missional is redundant because it is true of the church regardless of how well the church is doing as a partner in God’s mission. It’s like claiming that you are a combat-oriented soldier, an administratively-oriented secretary or an educationally-oriented teacher. Everybody knows that soldiers spend time doing things apart from combat, that secretaries do more than admin and teachers are not constantly in the classroom, but that doesn’t alter the general posture of each of those roles or the assumptions about what is key to them.
I think we need to get to a point where we can drop ‘Missional’ as an adjective and just talk about the church. If ‘Missional’ works for the time being as an adjective to remind the church of a key part of its reason for existence, then all well and good, but if we’re still harping on about ‘Missional this, that and the other…’ in 10 years time I think we’ll have missed it.
I’ll try and say more about this over the coming days and weeks and it’d be great to engage in decent conversation in the comments section below.