What if no incremental or discontinuous approach works for Columbia Metro: Mission Local? What if efforts at revitalizing, renewing, restarting, and replanting existing congregations results in inadequate kingdom progress? What if an insufficient number of congregations are willing to take discontinuous to radical action that is necessary to prophetically impact our local mission field with the Good News of Jesus Christ?
Is a revolutionary effort justified? If so, what would that look like?
Almost 50 years ago, I (George Bullard) heard the foremost church consultant of the last half of the 20thcentury – Lyle Schaller – speak about this issue. He suggested that if an existing cacophony of congregations is not making kingdom progress, a new movement of congregations may be the best answer.
Having congregations with facilities, pastors, staff, members who have been around for a long time does not produce kingdom effectiveness. Culturally captive congregations who primarily want their congregation to exist for them throughout their lifetime are unlikely to spiritually transform their context. What they may do is hoard the resources that could empower this effort. They are often unwilling to release them or apply them in prophetic ministry in their context.
More than 40 years ago I was a participant in a national urban think tank pulled together by our Southern Baptist national missions agency. Our work group within the larger think tank had the task of developing a new strategy for reaching cities for Christ. When we reported out our recommendations audible gasps filled the plenary session.
We recommended to start a new denominational movement through a revolutionary effort in church planting efforts in the 50 largest urban areas in North America. The Southern Baptist Convention should sponsor and provide funding for this revolutionary missional effort.
A primary motivation was that existing congregations would never be revolutionary enough to do this. They would always as a group be overly concerned about their own vitality and survival.
Shift forward to today. Here is the question. Are the 100 congregations of the Columbia Metro Baptist Association called of God, motivated for missional engagement, and willing to be revolutionary and reach our context for Christ? Or are we comfortable – “at ease in Zion” – and God needs to raise up a new movement outside CMBA to reach our context for Christ?
How would you answer this question? How should we pray about this? Should we pray that CMBA congregations will lead the revolution? Or do we need to ask God to raise up another movement?
Whatever we do, it must be revolutionary to fulfill the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment!