I’ve written before about some exciting missional things happening in the United Methodist Church. Wes Magruder, who is a part of one of those “fresh expressions” in Methodist circles, the Missional Wisdom Foundation, recently wrote this about his denomination:
“Whatever we United Methodists are, we are not yet truly missional. Everything that happened at Annual Conference this week presupposed and presumed that the attractional church is the preeminent and ultimate expression of Christian community. …
“Missional means sent.
“A missional church understands that it primarily exists to be sent.
“A missional church is so preoccupied with life in the neighborhood that it doesn’t really have time to worry about the maintenance and upkeep of buildings, vehicles, and programs.
“And, as a Missional Monk, I would like to remind us that we aren’t sent alone. We are Sent. Together. …
“Everything presented at Conference was firmly inside the attractional church box. Everything shared and celebrated and lifted up as worthy of emulation was traditional, programmatic, and based on the idea that our job as church leaders is to try to get people inside the church building. And that’s an idea that I think we must get away from, if merely because it’s too small a vision!”
Why is it taking the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S. so long to make the missional shift?