Why The Missional Movement Will Fail

I think this article by Mike Breen does a great job of explaining David Clark’s suggestion that agenda-driven reforms within a church ultimately result in a church with fewer members and a less gospel-centered message.

Why the Missional Movement Will Fail

Short answer: Disciples will make movements and reforms, but reforms and movements will not make disciples.

10 thoughts on “Why The Missional Movement Will Fail

  1. Tim — Could you please give a description from your perspective of what the “missional movement” is about? I read a few articles, but they’re mostly written to evangelicals who already know what the term means (and I’ve been outside the evangelical loop since the term became widely used). The main thing I gathered is that the “missional” approach contrasts to some extent with the “seeker-friendly” approach, which I’m more familiar with.

    What does a “missional” church look like? What does a “missional” church do that others don’t? To what extent, if at all, does the LDS church take a “missional” approach? (We certainly don’t take the seeker-friendly approach!)

    I’m not looking for a long, detailed answer, just something that isn’t written for those who are already familiar with such evangelical terminology.


  2. I should clarify that my family and my church consider ourselves to be deeply invested in the missional movement.

    short answer for Eric: a missional church is one that seeks to be “on mission”. They actively look for ways to engage in service in their local community and abroad. The goal in missional causes is to be a part of Christ’s redemption of ALL things. That means preaching the gospel or creating converts is not necessarily the overriding goal in missional activities. Easing suffering can be seen as a justified end in and of itself even if no one prays a prayer of salvation.

    There’s no reason to think that “seeker-friendly churches” and “missional churches” are in opposition to one another.

    I don’t think local LDS wards are really missional. The overriding majority of “religious activities” encouraged as expressions of the local body are inwardly focused on personal and community devotional growth. I for sure know of Mormons who as individuals are missional, and Deseret Industries throws a wrench in my description, but I don’t see local wards routinely gathering their resources to build water wells in Africa or assuming the maintenance of a homeless shelter. I’m willing to concede that I may lack sufficient information to make that determination.

  3. Although (from my experience), evangelism is honestly a relatively small perentage of the “religious activities encouraged as expressions of the local body” as compared to personal and community devotional growth. For better or worse, the full-time missionaries definitely do the heavy lifting.

    And my experience of Mormonism in that regard contrasts sharply with my experience at Cedar Ridge Community Church, which was certainly extremely missional (without neglecting personal or community devotion).

  4. Among the traditional denominations, I suppose the Salvation Army would be a prime example of a missional church.

  5. Tim,

    Have you heard much about the LDS Day of Service? This seems to be a contrast to the idea of simply contributing to the church humanitarian aid fund; rather, individual wards are to come up with a plan to serve within the community. Of course, this is just a one-time thing, at present, but I know that the local LDS leadership in my area has regularly sought to promote more service within the community at large, particularly in conjunction with other faith communities.

  6. My church started a thing called “Serve Day” about 15 years ago. It became a county-wide thing and has been replicated all over, but we stopped doing it a couple of years ago. It was to “service” what Christmas and Easter are to “church attendance”.

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