Monday, October 03, 2011

Is missional only local?

It seems as if missional church only means being responsive to God's call in local settings. Local congregations then strive to discern God's call and of course, they dwell in the Word to hear God saying something about 'their community'. Is this enough? Is it enough to draw a circle around our 'churchbuilding' and imagine all and everything within that circle to be 'our community'?


These questions are pertinent for a few reasons:
1) Is God mission, i.e. God's passionate concern and compassion only about 'our community'. What kind of theology lies behind the notion 'our community'. It might not be expressed like this all the time, but indeed, a discourse of 'our community' might be the same kind of thinking within the Jewish community, as they tried to understand and relate to God. Jahwe, became for the Jewish community, our God and of course, the flip-side is, our God or better our conceptualization or our image of God, became normative. There is a danger of idolatry here.
2) In, at least the Southern African context, 'our communities' were created artificially, It was part of a conscious strategy by the colonial governments of the past, to structure the spaces in which people live and so, it has become a strategy in social engineering. 'Our community' did not evolve organically or naturally... what's more is the fact that it is not divinely ordained. So perhaps God might want to change 'our community' and challenge us to get beyond these boundaries...borders.
3) Perhaps it is in the DNA of God mission to transgress borders. Bosch defines mission as 'crossing borders'. Perhaps missional church is by definition not simplistically local. If local means to be confined to 'our church circle', then it has failed to grasp what God is really doing.

These thoughts remain critical for our engagement of trying to understand and live by what God is doing today and where God is taking his church. Being missional is embodied in small communities, in real relations, but it is more then a repeat or entrenchment of man-made borders. It cannot only be local... it is beyond.