Elton Trueblood’s The Company of the Committed, as I’ve written before, contains some incredibly prophetic insights into what people are now calling the missional church (and he published his book in 1961!). Here’s a few more quotes:
The older idea as that the lay members were the pastor’s helpers, but the new and vital idea is that the pastor is the helper of the ordinary lay members in the performace of their daily ministry in the midst of secular life (p. 63).
I would probably add that one pastor cannot possibly do that for more than probably 20-30 people, so we also need to see a multiplication of leadership. The "equippers" need to be more, and more diversified. Trueblood is using "pastor" as a generic term for a leader, but I think we need to think through how some lead as pastors, some as teachers, some as evangelists, some as prophets, and some as apostles. Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost head toward a theology of using the "five-fold ministry" in missional churches.
The Church is never true to itself when it is living for itself, for if it is chiefly concerned with saving its own life, it will lose it. The nature of the Church is such that it must always be engaged in finding new ways by which to transcend itself. Its main responsibility is always outside its own walls in the redemption of common life (p. 69).
The Church, however large its buildings and however grand its ceremonies or vestments, is a denial of Christ unless it is affecting the world–in buiness and government and education and many other segments of human experience (p. 71).
And this quote contains some of my own thoughts in a previous post:
In many contemporary Christian congregations the entire church operation points to a climax on a Sunday morning, a conception would have seemed very strange indeed to the early Christians. Often the major effort during the week is promotion of Sunday, the printed church paper plugging constantly for a bigger attendance. Sunday morning, then, when it finally comes, has something of the mood of a much advertised athletic contest, for which the team has prepared and to which it has been pointed all week. Finally, at twelve o’clock on Sunday, the whistle blows, the climactic event is over for another week, and the spectators go home to relax… [This] gives the undeniable impression that, for the Christian, the week is a preparation for Sunday. This is a complete reversal of the Christian pattern and something which finds no support whatever in the New Testament. The Christian pattern, if taken seriously, means exactly the opposite–namely, that what happens on Sunday is defensible only as a preparation for the daily ministry of the week which follows.
Sundays aren’t "gamedays," then. The whole week is "gameday," and Sundays are more like half-time. Or maybe even more like mini-camp, scrimmages, and practice during the week. More on this in my next post.