A few years ago churches that were serious about their work were "purpose-driven." Today those same churches might call themselves "missional." The upcoming winter issue of Leadership will ask what exactly it means to be missional. David Fitch is a regular contributor to Out of Ur, pastor of Life on the Vine, a missional community in Long Grove, Illinois, and the author of The Great Giveaway. In this post Fitch asks if owning a building is contrary to missional church values.
Is buying a building always contra being missional? Upon first instinct, the answer would be yes. Certainly missional gatherings would hesitate to invest in a traditional church building. But are there times when inhabiting a building might itself be incarnational according to missional logic?
One positive thing about the end of modernity is that truth cannot be held captive by the rational, the strictly representational, or the logocentric. It must be embodied. So we who live in these times naturally resist any attempts to strip truth of its embodiment. Missional living, we say, must be incarnational.
But if truth is to be embodied, if we are not going to be limited to only words, then we must embody ourselves as a physical presence in the community. This might include inhabiting a building.
I am sure many, perhaps the majority, of missional communities will gravitate towards meeting in homes. But if embodiment in a community requires this community to see us, watch our way of life, see they way we welcome and engage the hurting, recognize God in our architecture, our meals, our artwork and worship, then there might be times when we should take residence in a place that is visible to the community. I know this goes against all missional thinking, so I ...