Once again, while at an ecumenical clergy gathering, I heard the call for the Church to become missional, this time from a Presbyterian. It’s the theme of the year I guess. The call to become missional is usually prefaced by the assertion, without fear of contradiction, that the Church and its congregations have spent decades focussed on themselves, turned inward to the exclusion of a world in need just outside their doors.
I don’t think that’s true, at least not in the way it seems to be said. The Church, in all of its institutional manifestations, has been exceedingly aware of and responsive to the world in need, whether local or overseas. The same cannot always be said of those who sit in the pews. My experience with them indicates that most are so burdened with the issues of their own lives that they give only passing thoughts to other matters. Their passing thoughts tend to be cast in the form of a check and some hope that someone else in the congregation is paying attention to them and doing something about them on behalf of all. Thankfully that is often the case.