Are We Delusional?

There has been some good private discussions going on about “experts” (in general) who pontificate on all thing missional yet don’t model it in their own lives. Michael Frost once said:

It is not any longer possible that we sit in some command center telling other people how to go forth. I’m speaking in particular to those of you who are clergy. You cannot preach about, encourage or motivate or mobilize people into mission unless you model what missional proximity looks like. You cannot sit in some ivory tower spending days and days preparing sermons which are seeking to motivate people into mission unless you yourself are prepared to embrace that similar commitment to proximity. Do you follow what I’m saying? I’m not just talking about proximity like our building is on the street corner on the main street with a gigantic sign and everyone knows that we are there. I’m talking about personal, relational, and geographic proximity to people.

There is a wonderful place for dialog around the missional movement, but we all need to be doers as well as talkers and listeners — especially church leaders and those who hold themselves out to be authorities on the subject. Reminds me of what James told us, “Prove that you are real. Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you’re delusional.” (James 1:22, The Voice).

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11 Responses to “Are We Delusional?”

  1. Adam G. says:

    Too true. I see a lot of discussion online that doesn’t translate into action.

  2. The long I live it, the less I feel like I am an authority on living missionally. The tension for us has been modeling it in our lives as leaders without expending so much energy that we have no time or strength for pastoral care. A worthy challenge.


  3. Rick Meigs says:

    Adam: So true.

  4. Rick Meigs says:

    Jamie: Exactly, on both points. A small part of the value of actually living missionally is testing the knowledge. Most of the time I find I have to modify my thinking. So I’m always a little “gun shy” talking about something I’ve not lived. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it from time to time :-) because talking through something can be good also.

    Pastoral care is important. A worthy challenge indeed.

  5. Larry Who says:

    After seeing the words “missional” and “emergent” hundreds of times, today I finally decided to check out their meanings. Isn’t it funny that we even need words like that to define what the church is really supposed to be?

  6. Steve Martin says:

    Sometimes we are up to it…and sometimes we’re not.

    The great thing is that God will use us for His purposes and if we aren’t cutting it, He’ll find someone He can use for awhile.

    In it all, He forgives us.

  7. Rick Meigs says:

    Larry, How true. Man does seem to have this need to name/label stuff — started in the garden with the animals.

  8. Rick Meigs says:

    Steve, thanks for commenting. It is good to know that even when we don’t “cut it” he still can and does use us. Such love and grace.

  9. i just blogged about this! (and i quoted you rick, from your blog on missional from last year)

    here’s an excerpt from my post:

    I understand the need for defining concepts and trends. Missional is simply a word, and words are vehicles to carry forth ideas. What concerns me is when there is a lot of energy spent on theorizing about a word that far outruns the practice of it. For example, I can sit around and talk about love in coffee bars all day long. What is love? What does it look like? How do we do live out love? But really, the best way to discover the true meaning of love is to love and be loved. To integrate the act of love in our lives requires Acts of Love.

    And so it is with this idea of being missional. Talking about it is good, even necessary, very necessary in many corners of western Christendom. But the capturing of what it means to be a missional follower of Jesus Christ is, in my opinion, going to be realized when by our lives we Act Missional.

    According to some of the reading I’ve done on it, I offer this simplistic definition of How to Live Missional:

    Go and Love Others.
    To be a missional follower of Jesus does not require someone organizing you. It does not need results (gasp!). Nor does the concept of missional depend on gifting, calling, talent, skill, a faith system, doctrine, ritual, or reputation. When I think of missional, I think of love and grace. God is the most missional Being I know. He meets me in my effed up world everyday. No explanation or fanfare. He just shows up.

    Do you want to be missional? Are you a leader trying to lead others into a missional way? Go and find somebody to love in a way that will be love to them. Just like God does with you. That, to me, is the whole point of the gig.

    Ken Loyd is the most missional person I know. And also my friend Denie, who does what Ken does over in Boise, ID. They’ll never be well-known theoreticians because they are too occupied with being practitioners. I doubt either of them could even give a decent definition of what the word missional means!

    Good post, Rick.

    (I was at HOMEpdx a couple of times last month. I wrote a huge article about them for New Wineskins. I’ll post when it goes LIVE, have no idea when. I love writing about them!)

  10. Rick Meigs says:

    Pam, Man I love what Ken does. We need thousands more like him. And Debra also at HOMEpdx. Looking forward reading your article. Keep writing about them because story telling is so important.

  11. gary says:

    Until there is a willingness to be of “no reputation” there will continue to be “less than a few” willing to give their life away and serve by example.