Missional angst

dilbert mission.jpg

In 1997, Scott Adams the creator of the Dilbert cartoons, masqueraded as a management consultant to Logitech executives.

He convinced the executives of the Logitech company to replace their existing mission statement with this one:

to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission-inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings.

Our contemporary angst over the meaning of "mission" is not the child of postmodern Christianity, although it has its postmodern expressions.

The angst popped up during the 1920s in the wake of the influence of nineteenth century secularized theology, coupled with the disillusionment that followed the horror World War I.

Ironically the previous century had been the "Great Century" of missionary advance and the rise of indigenous movements in the developing world that later resulted in Christianity becoming a global faith.

Western and Westernized church leaders spent much of the twentieth century discussing their theology of “mission”. The outcome of those discussions tended towards view of mission that was far broader and more intent on improving this life, rather than preparing for the next.

Unfortunately every time the church leaders returned from their gatherings, they returned to dwindling and aging congregations. A broadly defined, secularized mission was the cause and the fruit of institutional decline and decay.

Many of the ministers I knew as a young boy in the 1960s began their careers as pioneer missionaries, then became local pastors before moving on to become social workers in what they called the "marketplace" or "real world."

Since the heyday of the early 1960s, liberal Christianity has been in free fall.

These things go in cycles of about forty years. So it should be no surprise that a new generation of evangelicals and “post-evangelicals” are seeking to broaden and secularize their understanding of mission.

Perhaps a better title for this post would have been, "Missional Deja Vu"