The institutional approach is dehumanizing and depersonalizing.

The institutional approach is dehumanizing and depersonalizing. Institutions prefer to deal with a monolithic “people” rather than diverse “persons.”[1] The focus of the Great Commission is to make disciples of individuals, not challenge and change cultures. The focus of the Great Commandment is to love individuals, such as God, our neighbor and ourselves. Rather than make disciples, the missional approach seeks to change the Church in order that the Church might change the world.[2] The missional church approach accepts “the definition of the church as God’s instrument for Gods’ mission, convinced that this is scripturally warranted.”[3] An instrument is a thing, not a gathering of persons or the body of Christ. The missional church remains an institutional church; an institutional worldview impedes disciple-making by diverting resources to institutional maintenance.

[1]Guder, Missional Church, 5. As in John 3:16, God did love the monolithic culture (“the world”), but grace is offered to individuals by the term “whosoever.”

[2]Guder, Missional Church, 86-87.

[3]Guder, Missional Church, 5. Cf. ibid., 8. When relational networks are shifted from building relationships with the lost to task oriented, missional service, the flow of new disciples ceases and an unreplenished leadership burns out; for a historical example, cf. Neighbor, Where Do We Go, 133-134. Peck’s Ruleis helpful: community building first, problem solving second. Peck, Different Drum, 104, 113. Koinonia must precede missional service. Missional service is an important part of spiritual adolescence but needs to be perceived as a stage of individual growth in a cycling discipleship system rather than an end result; relational spiritual parenting is a stage of maturity that lies beyond the stage of missional service.

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