A Missional Structure?

The Verge Network - a promoter of all things missional - posted a video of Matt Carter, Pastor of  The Austin Stone Community Church declaring that "missional community is the long awaited structure that the American church has desperately needed to unleash everyday believers into the mission of their every day life."  I have nothing against Matt or Verge (in fact, I celebrate anyone contributing to the missional conversation), but hopeful as this sounds, I am afraid it is placing hope in the wrong thing: a structure.

Missional is most fundamentally a property of a life, or a people, not a structure. And it is the natural property of a life of one who lives in the kingdom of God in...intimate, obedient, joyful relationship with the King. Participating in any form of structure, however good, simply can not a missional person make. Matt presumes that we need a structure to unleash (already missional) people when in fact already missional people "go," "do," and "send" whether there is a well-suited structure for it or, as in the case of the early church.  In those communities they are creating structure to try to keep up with  their community what the spirit is doing, not engineer a the conditions to make something happen. If you have truly missional (ie. Kingdom) people in community then structure is an afterthought, not a precondition.  

I wish it wasn't true, but the American church's issue is much deeper than structure.  It's an issue of message, means and ends. 


  1. I think you're building a straw man off of one quote used to promote a new network.

    Having been there, Matt was not promoting hope in a structure, merely saying this structure aims to no longer be a limiting mechanism toward the release and spread of the gospel.

  2. LG - Again, nothing against Matt or Verge. But this quote was the centerpiece of his hour long talk. It's one of the perennial temptations of the church (especially in our time) to latch on to methodologies and strategies for mission, and to make spirituality, our life line to the power for effective mission, secondary. Stuart Murray says as much in Church Planting: Laying Foundations (p. 41).