Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church by Reggie McNeal was released in early 2009. The sub-title is revealing! This is yet another excellent book from the Leadership Network.
McNeal says he writes this book for “the thousands of people who are part of minstry or church organizations who feel convinced that there has to be something better than they are experiencing” (xvii). He says the typical church scorecard is: how many, how often, how much. But going “missional” doesn’t mesh with this scorecard. Instead, we need to make three shifts (xvi): from internal to external in terms of ministry focus, from program development to people development in terms of core activity, and from church-based to kindgom-based in terms of leadership agenda.
“The notion of ‘sentness’ lies at the heart of the missional church because it reveals the heart of God” (21). McNeal adds, “The missional church believes it is God who is on a mission and that we are to join him in it” (23). In other words, we need to “find out what God is doing and join him in it” (23).
This is a vastly different than George Hunsberger’s description of many churches. He says many churches are seen as “a vendor of religious goods and services. … Members and participants expect the church to provide a range of services, from favorite music and fellowship options to sports leagues and travel opportunities. In this view, other churches actually become competitors in the religious marketplace for the energy, money, and affiliation of people they can attract and keep satisfied through the services they offer” (23).
McNeal says we get confused and often turn the church into a destination instead of a place of connection (he compares the church to an airport). “When the church think it’s the destination, it also confuses the scorecard. It thinks that if people are hovering around and in the church, the church is winning. The truth is, when that’s the case, the church is really keeping people from where they want to go, from their real destination. That destination is life. … The church is a connector, linking people to the kingdom life that God has for them” (45).
Well, I can’t give the whole book away. Good read and worth your time!