When it comes to the Emergent Church, I have appreciated the emphasis on the life of the church needing to be missional. It is easy for a church to become enrobed in its own establishment and to turn the vast majority of its energy inward instead of outward. There are many voices calling us to refocus ourselves missionally-to see the life of the church as a witness to Christ. Gruder makes this very point.
Although the predominant meaning of witness has to do with oral communication, there is ample reason to understand witness in a much more comprehensive sense, as defining the entire Christian life, both individually and corporately. (55)
He quotes this gem from William Abraham:
…to think of evangelism in terms of mere proclamation fosters the practice of disconnecting evangelism from the life of the local church. (56)
In this spirit, then, Gruder goes on to note the comprehensive character of mission or witness in Scripture. As a partial extraction of his list, he mentions: Witness is theocentric, Witness is Christocentric, Witness is pneumatological, and Witness is historical. Given my own concerns about the direction of the EC, Seeker/Church Growth movements, and other waves in evalgelicalism, I was thrilled to read this list of Gruder’s. Every true revival, restoration or reform of the Church begins exactly where his list begins-with God at its center.
I wonder if any readers have thoughts or experiences to share about missional church? As you may have seen I am part of a team planting a church, and I am praying that we take on a missional character. Any thoughts?
P.S. Guder makes some additional comments about “universals” and history which refine my earlier criticism. I will get to those soon, but I want to see if we can get any discussion flowing on missional church before I do.