Monday, November 18, 2013

Rooted: Beyond Pentecostal Missions [Guest Post at The Antioch Session]

I'm over at Zach Hoag's place, The Antioch Session, participating in his month long series on rethinking the missional conversation called: Rooted. I'm coming at it from the perspective of my tradition of Pentecostalism, and how I think sometimes we miss the boat on mission, which is sad, because I'd argue that Pentecost is really at the root of mission in the first place.

Here's an excerpt:

I come from the Pentecostal tradition of American Evangelicalism, where unfortunately, we don't talk a lot about being missional. In fact, I would venture to say that there is almost no participation in the missional conversation from within Pentecostalism. There are a lot of reasons, I think, but for the most part, I think Pentecostals assume they've got it all figured out already, and instead of talking about being missional, we talk about:


Now, at first blush, it sounds like a great thing (colonial implications aside), and from raw numbers, you might think that Pentecostals have it all figured out too, considering we're the fastest growing Christian sect in the world. (Take that, YRR crowd!)

What makes missions attractive to Pentecostals, I think, is that it suits our particular view of how and when "the end" might happen (most Pentecostals are sooner-rather-than-laterists). "We're saving the world before Jesus comes back, yeah!!"

What's more important though, is that it meshes well with the economic and cultural assumptions that in no small way have become a primary driver of the way we do church. To put it simply, I think that when we mix American consumerism with cultural colonialism in the crucible of an escapist eschatology (the end is near!) and a "born-again" soteriology (just say this prayer and get saved!), the resulting concept of "missions" is inevitable. We become as detached from the mission of the Gospel as we are from the Bangledeshi factory workers who risk their lives to make our designer clothes. Those of us who aren't "called" do our part and support the "crusaders" being sent out to the "heathens" all over the world and it absolves us of the responsibility of actually doing anything here at home.

It's sort of the church version of "I gave at the office."

Click over to Zach's place to read the rest.  


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