By Shannon Youell
In the first blog of Killing Missional Culture, Todd Engstrom revealed the first revelation their leadership had in how they approached shifting the culture of their church to a more missional ethos. He wrote about assuming the gospel from the position that many Christians today fumble awkwardly around when asked to define the gospel. We’ve written about the importance of not assuming that our language is understood and interpreted in the same way–even among the folk in a single congregation.
I have asked groups on many occasions to define the gospel for me. The responses generally range from the gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross and when we believe in him we get to live with him forever after we die (an accurate but partial definition), to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (again the gospel is found in those books but are not the gospel themselves).
“But here was our problem: We spent so much time thinking about where we wanted to go that we forgot where our people were.“
Often in our zeal and passion to follow Jesus onto the mission field, we forget where we currently sit. This is where the hard work begins. Going somewhere without our people is not a good demonstration of the gospel!
In Part two, “Casting Vision Without Practice,” Todd explains this pitfall further. Congregations are the people who gather, therefore we must disciple our congregations carefully, gracefully and lovingly towards any kind of culture shift by helping them shape their lives around Jesus and God’s mission, not by leaving them in the dust!