I have been reading “The Tangible Kingdom” by Matt Smay and Hugh Halter. I am really enjoying it and have already started their newer book “And”. These guys are like many of my favourite writers deconstructionists. By that I mean they critique the ‘attraction church’ which has been the predominant model for the past 1700 years and they advocate strongly for an incarnational and missional model for the Church of the 21st Century. What I particularly like about these two guys is their obvious love for the Church and genuine sympathy for pastors who have learned a paradigm which no longer makes sense.
They are what I consider ‘good natured’ deconstructionists. The critique is vital but the obvious love makes it palatable. They also lay out some proposed models for how the Church of the 21st Century might organise itself and so become constructive. I think this is a much needed point of view!
At Threshold Ministries one of my tasks is to put together resources to help churches move from an attractional model to a more missional model and I am glad to be influenced by this pair of guys. I am beginning to plan a conference type event (we actually call them ‘conversations’) in Edmonton next winter or spring. And I am developing a home grown workshop for Church leaders on this topic.
I sometimes feel misunderstood, as people suggest I am anti-church and I admit to advocating passionately for a changed view. I think the time where we listen only to one kind of voice (pastoral) is best over. We need to heed the dangerous voices which call us out of ourselves and demand that we engage in meaningful ways with the lost people of the post-Christendom era. Those dangerous voices though are best heard if people feel loved. I pray for the grace to strike just such a balance.