December 11, 2008
Alan Hirsch Responds to Kimball's "Missional Misgivings"
As someone who comes out clearly for the missional reframing of church, I do share some concerns about reproduction (fruitfulness). Anyone concerned with Jesus' commission should be.
The comments so far are excellent and so I will just add a few more.
* I certainly don't believe that attractional is not working. What I have said is that it has appeal to a shrinking segment of the population, and that persistence with a church growth style, attractionalism, is in the long run a counsel of despair. Are you suggesting that we simply stay with what we have got? Surely not bro?
* If we persist with our standard measurements for mission, we will miss the point. The issue is what idea of church is more faithful to the Scriptures. Genuine fruitfulness, surely, cannot simply be measured by numbers but by 'making disciples.' How does one measure that? By all accounts, current churches are made up largely of admirers of Jesus but few genuine disciples/followers - this is not a biblical idea of fruitfulness!
* Besides, the early church would not measure up to the current metrics!! If Rodney Stark is right, there were only 25,000 believers by year 100AD. Not exactly mind boggling church growth. Some attractional churches are larger.
* If we stick with the prevailing measures, we will miss the level of incarnational engagement with quantitative measures alone. How do we measure that? Incarnation takes time and loving presence (witness) among a people. Working with post-Christian folks ain't easy because we have lost our credibility and have to work darn hard to regain it. I think there is much work to do here.
The only other thing I will say is that we as believers, live by a vision of what can be...we cannot allow ourselves to be constrained by pragmatics alone. Vision precludes that and is driven by holy discontent to see a greater manifestation of the Kingdom.
With love and respect.
Read Dan Kimball's original post here.