The current climate and context of the American church is something that is frequently discussed and written about. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that I am going to say anything groundbreaking. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be said again. If the leadership gurus are correct, it takes someone hearing something on average 14 times before it truly sinks in. So what do I mean by the title of this blog?
There are currently two types of mindsets in the church today. Often those in leadership have one mindset, while many church members have the opposite mindset. This isn’t always the case, but it is more the norm than either side often wants to admit. The first mindset is what we will call the missional mindset. That is a Christian who sees a calling on their life to live as a “sent one.” In the forefront of this person’s mind is the question, how can I glorify God today by fulfilling the Great Commission? This leads them to examine their life in light of biblical teaching, and they are more prone to view the events of their life as a series of events orchestrated by God for them to evangelize and disciple others. The other mindset is what we will call the maintenance mindset. That is the Christian who likes the status quo and doesn’t want to rock the boat. This person has a very different outlook on their life as well as the role of the church. They see most things including the church as something that exists for their pleasure and purpose. Therefore, the majority of the decisions they make are made from the viewpoint of answering the question, what is best for me or what’s in my best interest? Whether we want to admit this or not, we are more prone to have a maintenance mindset than we are to have a missional mindset. That is because it is what comes naturally to us, and it feeds our selfish, sinful tendencies more. Without a doubt this is truly a spiritual warfare issue. God calls us to be missional, while satan tempts our sin nature to be a maintenance person. So how can you personally as well as your church corporately know which mindset you fall into? This will not be an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully it can get the conversation started between you and God as well as within the church as necessary.
I will begin with the negative mindset first. You have a maintenance mindset if the first question that comes to your mind when a new opportunity is presented is, how will this effect me? You have a maintenance mindset in the church if you are resistant to change simply because it would mean doing something different. You have a maintenance mindset if you are more concerned with how existing members will react to a change than how a some simple change could help you reach your community with the Gospel more effectively. Finally, one of the best ways to decipher which mindset you have is to look at your personal budget as well as the church budget. Are they geared more towards what you like and want to do? Or are is your personal budget and the church budget more geared towards investing in Great Commission opportunities? Do you personally look for ways to cut your personal spending in order to give more to the church and therefore invest in Great Commission opportunities? Is the church budget more geared towards keeping those you have happy and satisfied or finding ways to reach those who do not attend your church yet? I realize many of these questions are deeply personal and they can even be painful. I cringed a few times as I typed them. However, unless and until we admit there is a problem, nothing will change. Many Christians and churches are on a hamster wheel. They are not reaching new people, there is little to no excitement in them. It’s not because they aren’t trying hard. It’s not because they intentionally want to stay the way they are. It’s because, and I say this with a great love for the church, we are insane. That is we are doing the same things, the same ways, yet we are expecting different results. Then we are shocked when we don’t get it and we begin to play the blame game and pointing fingers at those we feel are responsible for our current condition. In the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:31b, “…and I will show you a more excellent way.”
The first key to having a missional mindset is to be grateful for your salvation. I have never met the Christian who is grateful that God saved them, yet they just couldn’t bring themselves to share the Gospel. Another key to having a missional mindset is remembering who you were before God saved you. In Titus 3 the apostle Paul wrote, “For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us…. (Titus 3:3-4a). If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would still be lost in sin and destined for hell. The next key for having a missional mindset is having a proper attitude and understanding about life. One of my favorite phrases is, God didn’t save us to sit; He saved us to serve. When I’m truly grateful for my salvation, I will find it joyful to serve the Lord, and I will have a desire for others to experience the same love and grace that I have experienced. A missional mindset sees each day as an opportunity to bring glory to God by being obedient to the Great Commission. Armed with gratefulness, humility, joy, and a desire to serve; God can use our life for His glory and the good of others.
So which do you have? Are you all about maintaining the status quo? If your philosophy best described as don’t rock the boat? Or is every day a part of a great adventure in fulfilling the Great Commission? If you aren’t where you need to be, the first step is to confess it to God and seek His help. You can’t flip a switch and change from status quo to soul winner. If you currently have a missional mindset, the danger for you is how easy it is to slip into complacency and flip from missional to maintenance. Therefore, your prayer needs to be, God help keep my fire and passion for you, your glory, and a desire to see the lost saved at the forefront of my heart and mind.
Join us tomorrow as we will have part two which will focus on some more practical steps to going from maintenance to missional.
By His grace and through His strength,