Missional Transformation – Three Shifts
I’m really keen on and deeply value the insights that Reggie McNeal brings to the missional conversation. For me, he gets to the heart of the change that must occur within the North American church.
Here he talks about the three major developments that need to take place in order for the church to undergo a missional transformation.
First, we must move from an internal to an external focus. The church does not exist for itself. When it thinks it does, we’ve created a church-centric world. Our perception of reality is skewed. By external focus of ministry I mean we radically reorient to understand that we exist primarily to do ministry beyond ourselves.
Second, we need to move from a program-driven agenda to a people-development agenda. Over time, the North American church has largely become a collection of programs run by staff or lay leaders. While we will certainly continue to have these programs, I believe a new, people-development agenda will base its sense of accomplishment on how well its people are doing, not its programs. If you start with people, the programs then serve the people, not the other way around.
The third shift is really a leadership response to the other two. It will require that leaders move from a maintenance or institutional model of leadership to a personal model—a ‘movement model’ of leadership. Leading a movement is very different from leading an organization.
If you have read his book, “Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church,” these are familiar themes. Themes that are at the core of missional transformation and, for this reason, need to be heard often.
And the key is his third point — leadership. If the process doesn’t start with a transformation of our model of leadership within the church, the first two shifts have little hope of taking place. Reggie spends 27 pages in Missional Renaissance covering this leadership shift, so if you want to explore it in depth you may want to pick up the book.