I was put onto this article, “Why the Missional Church Will Fail,” by my friend Joel Diaz (@thejoeldiaz) who wanted me to comment (I am sure for the sake of discussion). I will provide my thoughts in list form to reduce my tendency to say too much.
1. I agree in principle with the underlying premise of the post. Mission devoid of discipleship will leave the church looking like a car dealership parking lot with a plethora of options and not a single way of moving them because all of the engines have been removed.
“If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get more leaders than you’ll know what to do with. If you make disciples like Jesus made them, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing. Always.”
2. The missional movements passion for doing the work of the kingdom has been and is a needed corrective to what has been perceived as the “dry” and sometimes “stale” orthodoxy of the institutional church. (I don’t believe either of these are true, but perception tends to be reality.)
“God did not design us to do Kingdom mission outside of the scope of intentional, biblical discipleship and if we don’t see that, we’re fooling ourselves. Mission is under the umbrella of discipleship as it is one of the many things that Jesus taught his disciples to do well. But it wasn’t done in a vacuum outside of knowing God and being shaped by that relationship, where a constant refinement of their character was happening alongside of their continued skill development (which included mission).”
3. This next comment is based on this ONE post. I do not know what has been said in other posts or places by the author.
As in most cases when I hear someone start talking about discipleship, and the need to be better at it, there is hardly ever any attempt to provide the pattern, system, methods or whatever that Jesus actually did to form and shape the first disciples. If there is one thing that is undeniably clear about the first disciples it was this: They were completely certain of what Jesus had taught them to do.
The danger with discussions about discipleship is that we base the conversation upon the effects that we see in the Scripture and hope to see in our day because we have no idea about how to create the conditions for those effects.
I do not believe that the process or method of forming disciples is something that changes because of context. We have no evidence that the discipleship process of the New Testament was adjusted as the apostles traveled the world. But, we do have Paul’s explicit example that the methods of introducing new areas and converts to Jesus, his Gospel and discipleship changed and were adjusted to the context of ministry (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
I have come to the place in my faith journey that anytime we have to “start thinking about discipleship again,” we are exposing the failure of the church and her leaders to keep the main thing the main thing. Anything and everything else is a secondary issue to making disciples. Jesus never said anything about buildings, budgets, bands, books, banners, boycotts or branding. Jesus’ final words were to make disciples.
The bottom line is that we are good at advertising the churches mission statement, but have failed in accomplishing the purpose for which the church was created (Colossians 1:28). Until we get this right we will have to continue addressing this issue.
Source Article: Why the Missional Church Will Fail by Mike Breen