In chapter five, Kenda continues a theme that she’s already introduced: cultivating missional imaginations in teens is a strong antidote to moralistic, therapeutic deism. But what, exactly, is a missional imagination?
Well, what it’s not is a week-long summer mission trip to an Indian reservation. In fact, Kenda argues that the fact that we’ve had to find an adjective — basically, to invent the word, “missional” — “testifies to the American church’s frayed ecclesiology.” Be that as it may, missional is here to stay, and she finds it a helpful term.
Kenda’s definition of a missional youth ministry parallels her understanding of the gospel, and she uses some of the same characterizations: messy, indecorous, risky. “Missional churches,” she writes, “ratchet up expectations by consciously striving to point out, interpret, and embody the excessive nature of God’s love.”
A ministry that exemplifies missionality for Kenda is Outreach Red Bank, a one-time youth ministry that has “blossomed into a multigenerational church.” ORB and other missional ministries fashion their life on the cruciform pattern of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection: