|Scooped by Anne Bosworth|
I wonder if by "theology" he actually means doctrine? If so, that would be one of my concerns with the missional church too. Without the teaching and hard soul work of wrestling with theology and/or doctrine, I'm not convinced that the missional movements I see at some churches are healthy or sustainable.
My big concern is what happens to people who are fed a message of acceptance when they are being wooed by the church, and then choked to death by doctrines (or "rules") they were never told about or taught.
I've heard the missional message(s) at my own church loud and clear. The pastor clearly sees his role, and the roles of his hired hands, very differently than what people expect. He has made it clear that his job is to equip and the people's job is to shepherd...until something goes wrong.
So, someone who came into church fellowship during a healthy, peaceful season of their life is has no idea that if theye find themselves in a season of upheaval and trouble their help will not come from the pastoral staff. Furthermore, they are likely to find that there is a system of "rules" in place that were kept well out of view during better times.
In this way, someone going through maritalor relationship problems and will not find guidance, help, or comfort from a pastor...unless it so happens that the person is a member of the pastor's small group. Instead, the person will be shuffled about through the secret bowels of the church system, which operates in such a way as to keep the offending person out of sight from the rest of the flock. No questioning of the system is allowed. Those who question or object are either written off, shunned, or allowed to go away angry. There is no system for healing, reconciliation, or restoration apart from the troubled person quietly accepting the prescribed confinement.
I hear this pathology more and more often and mostly from women. What this tells me is that the traditional church, which the missional movement throws into question, has simply moved underground. The same old misogyny is in play, but it's tucked away.
The notion of small groups and people doing life together in an Acts 29 fashion is excellent and much needed, but the pastor shouldn't get a free pass and only enjoy the projects, planning, and planting. If the model of love, forgivemess,grace, protection, discipline, and reconciliation is not practiced, demonstrated, and wrestled with at the pastoral level then small groups are very likely to become places where as much misguiding, trouble, and hurt grow up as Christian love. You can't "do life together" if you aren't in it for the messy parts as well as the pretty parts...and pastor should be the first one into the fray. If he can't handle being in the fray with 2000+ people then chances are he ought to change his title to CEO, or find himself a smaller church. He ought not to be orchestrating relationships between church staff and the congregation like a puppetmaster. If he is not loveable and accessible in times of trouble, then I don't know what makes him qualified to equip others for that work.
And if doctrine/theology is something that only gets pureed into some kind of pablem for the congregation, but used as a secret tool for dealing with difficult people then I don't see how the reformed, missional church can be seen as much better or different from the Catholic church of old where the people were kept illiterate and in need of intermediaries to receive grace.