Saturday, January 05, 2008

David Fitch and Confessions of a Missional Pastor

David Fitch writes an interesting piece called Confessions of a Missional Pastor. I appreciate his honesty in describing how difficult it is to attain a missional ideal. My own observation is that it is much more difficult to attain a missional ideal than it is to rail against "the institutional church." (This is no swipe against David; it's just an observation borne of seeing that sort of thing in many circumstances.) To generalize, it's much harder to attain any sort of ideal than it is to rail against the perceived reason for falling short.

Let's be blunt. The failures of the church are not the Pope's fault.
They are not Luther's fault.
They are not Calvin's fault.
They are not Wesley's fault.
They are not Edwards's fault.
They are not Finney's fault.
They are not liberalism's fault.
They are not Evangelicalism's fault.
They are not Modernism's fault.
They are not Postmodernism's fault.
They are not megachurches's fault.
They are not the United States's fault.
They are not those-other-kinds-of-Christians's fault.

They are the fault of human nature. Fallen nature. Sin nature. What we say we believe in, what most of us acknowledge that we have not fully overcome, but then think we can overcome by breaking away from some organization and "starting fresh."

The failure is not in the organization. The failure is in the fact that all organizations are populated by people. The small organization that one forms when "starting fresh" is still populated by people, and sooner or later, it will be beset by the same problems that beset larger organizations.

I think the goals that David sets out are noble. I think I agree with just about all of them. I hope he understands that these struggles are simply the result of working with, and being, people. Because the alternative is to get disenchanted, leave, go somewhere else with another smaller group, and "start fresh." And perhaps, never accomplish anything at all.

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