Now I realize I didn’t publish my thoughts on “Conversations You Can’t Ignore” in the right order. Here is Part IV.
All three of the movements we’ve examined the past three days (Emergents, Incarnationals, and Organics) are clearly reactions against the traditional Attractional church that waits for the public to come to it instead of going out to it. Some 80-85% of Attractional churches are either on a plateau or dying because their primary function is the care and feeding of their members and the institution. They are more like hospices or hospitals than churches. It might be in the best interest of most churches in the West to listen to these voices since they clearly show the fallacies of the institutionally-focused church. But do we really need to throw the baby out with the bathwater? I think not.
However, over the past decade too much time and energy has been taken up by these conversations. I have no problem with the Incarnational, Organic, and Emergent movements being part of the ongoing conversation as long as we realize they are just a few of the many voices in the midst of much larger and important conversation that is coming to the forefront. We will examine this movement in a moment.
But first, we should all be indebted to these folks for bringing to our attention so elegantly the fact that Western Christianity is nowhere near what Jesus had in mind when he sent his disciples out into the world to build his church. We should be willing to concede that most churches in the West are spiritually dead and are beyond revitalization or turnaround. Their only hope is resurrection. That is why I wrote A Second Resurrection. They are in need of resurrection. However, these movements are not the primary conversations in which we should be engaged.
So let’s turn to two other major players in this ongoing conversation that have the potential to eclipse all three of these movements, as important as they are.
The Reproductive Movement
The Reproductive movement focuses primarily on advancing the Kingdom of God by multiplying itself and its people in any way possible. Their primary focus is on transforming the world by reproducing disciples rather than by building large institutional churches (even though their efforts are likely to result in large churches). Most of these churches are heavy into planting churches that plant other churches and multi-site ministries because they believe this is still the best way to make disciples. Mission shapes everything they do and believe including the purpose and meaning of “ecclesia.” Reproductives believe Christians are called and blessed only to be sent into the world to be a blessing to it. Mission is the totality of what the church is.
The most prominent leaders of this movement include folks like Bob Roberts, Dave Ferguson, and all the people involved in church planting movements like Exponential.
The Reproductives realize reaching the world will take the combined effort of all forms of Christianity. Therefore the movement embodies the best of the Incarnational, Organic, and Emergent values without throwing the baby (the institutional church) out with the bathwater. They believe we must plant as many churches as possible in as short a period of time as possible. Rather than the institutional church, their emphasis is on planting churches that will plant other churches in order to transform the world. Their emphasis is on the process of reproduction of Christians and the transformation of societies rather than on building buildings. These leaders also realize that in today’s world, big may not always be best, so they embrace the multi-site route as well.
There is one thing the Reproductives need to do. They need to get together and bring about one huge movement that will change the course of the world. So I have to ask – “What’s keeping you from forming a Reproduction Bank where people of all persuasions can donate to the cause of planting church planting churches?”
Question: In your opinion, what are the positive and negative aspects of the Reproductive movement? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
You Might Also Like:
- My review of The Multiplying Church by Bob Roberts
- My review of The Big Idea by Jon Ferguson
- Exponential Conference