bits from bob....

Missional or Maintenance?

by Bob Young
June 1, 2013
©, 2013, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I begin with an illustration. Think with me. You can probably identify. You may have had similar experiences.

I had a car. I bought it to take me where I needed to go. That was its purpose. It had a mission, a job to do. It was a wonderful car, even though it was seven years old when I bought it.
My car needed repair from time to time. Such was expected. Every car I have ever owned needed service and repair periodically. Maintenance is a normal part of car ownership.
After a couple of years I sold my wonderful car. Why? Because its need for maintenance was getting in the way of its mission.

Two dynamics are always at work in life--mission and maintenance. These are at work in your Christian life; these are at work in the life of every local church. Are you a missional Christian or a maintenance Christian? Is this a missional church or a maintenance church?

Some Christians are maintenance Christians. They require such high maintenance that they cannot accomplish the work God intends for them. In fact, maintenance Christians often detract from the efforts of others Christians, because attention that could go to missional activities--spreading God's word and doing God's work in this world--must go to maintaining fellow Christians. Other Christians are missional--quietly going about the work of God in this world with little support or encouragement. God intends us to be missional Christians, focused on God's purpose more than our own needs. Missional Christians find energy in doing God's will and are able to keep their spiritual batteries charged.

Churches are either missional or maintenance churches. Maintenance churches just maintain the status quo. All of their energy goes to handling internal matters. They do not show long-term growth patterns. Attendance may fluctuate up and down a little, but they are maintenance churches, barely keeping house. Missional churches actively seek to do God's will in the world. They know that the world is bigger than what they see and experience in the local church. Missional churches can see beyond themselves. Interestingly, missional churches also experience growth.

Most maintenance churches are largely composed of maintenance Christians. Missional churches always have a good representation of missional Christians. Are you a maintenance Christian or a missional Christian? Is the church where you attend a maintenance church or a missional church?

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Last updated June 1, 2013