Posts Tagged ‘Missional Transformation’

Fostering a People-Development Agenda

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Yesterday I shared three major developments that Reggie McNeal believes must take place in order for the church to undergo a missional transformation.

The second shift in the three is to move from a program-driven agenda to a people-development agenda. This shift is necessary because the North American church has largely become a collection of programs run by staff and non-staff leaders and has lost its people-development calling.

Reggie believes the “rise of the program-driven church correlates directly with the rise of the service economy in post-World War II America. The manufacturing engine powering the economy yielded to the service sector as Americans could afford to pay other people to do things they no longer wanted to do themselves or couldn’t do themselves. People began to outsource food preparation, lawn maintenance, laundry, oil changes, and child care. And Americans outsourced spiritual formation to the church. It was during this period that the concept of church as a vendor of religious goods and services became entrenched in the ethos of the North American church culture.

“The demanding service expectation on the part of church families drove the church to proliferate its offerings in children’s and student ministries at first. This was followed by scores of other programs in an increasingly market-driven approach to capturing church members. The church growth movement of the last quarter of the twentieth century fed this frenzy as churches clamored for customers who could support the program expansion. The result was a resettling of the church population into congregations who have both paid attention to this program expectation and fed it as well.

“Church programming became increasingly complex as churches became more adept and more able to develop ministry options. The assumption grew that the church could provide the venues and opportunities for people to live out their entire spiritual journey as part of a church sponsored or church operated activity. This approach to Christian life has gone on now for so long that it seems natural and normal to North American church people.”

Because the program-driven agenda has become so deep-seated and expected, nurturing a people-development agenda and culture will require some important alteration in the way church leaders think and behave. In this video, Reggie talks about this second shift and how to foster it.

Reformed Church in America: One Thing: Reggie McNeal: What Are You Going To Do About It? from Phil Tanis on Vimeo.

Missional Transformation – Three Shifts

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

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.