February 9, 2009

Shenk & a missional ecclesiology

Wilbert Shenk asks, “What can we say are the main features of a missional ecclesiology? At least five things will characterize a missional church:
• The missional church is intensely aware that its priority is to witness to the kingdom of God so that people are being liberated from the oppressive power of idols. The church is consciously discerning and naming the idols.
• The church is deeply committed to the world but is not controlled by the world. In other words, the church knows that it has been placed in the world but is never to be subservient to the world. The absence of this tension indicates that the church has made its peace with the world.
• Mission is patterned after the example of Jesus the Messiah; that is, mission is cruciform. The vision of Isaiah 53 is being fulfilled as God’s people serve and witness. The cross is central.
• The missional church has a keen awareness of the eschaton. In Jesus Christ the kingdom has been inaugurated, but the people of God eagerly await the consummation of the kingdom.
• Church structures will serve and support its mission to the world. Human cultures inevitably change over time. The church must stay abreast of its changing cultural context, which will require the dismantling of archaic forms that impede missionary witness and the devising of new structures that support the mission
New Wineskins for New Wine: Toward a Post-Christendom Ecclesiology

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