We like to hear from those who affirm what we already believe. Listening to those with whom we have already decided to disagree with requires work and humility. For me the latter reaps more reward than the former.
When missional moved into the mainstream Evangelical Christian conversation most sized it up and looked for a way to integrate the new moniker into their already existing pantheon of theo-ecclesial descriptors. There seemed a need to find a meaning with which fit what we already believed. Soon some, including me, wondered if it would suffer the fate of other words caught in the gears of the Christendom machine needing revitalization for its waning subculture.
Interestingly the word seems to have transcended gatekeepers, even if manifestos have been written. Missional, from my experience with the term, grew out of Darrel Güder’s Missional Church. Others, like Ed Stetzer and Andrew Jones, have traced a longer history. But, in our current iteration of the term, it is safe to say Güder launched a renewed interest in what it might mean to compel the Continuing Conversion of the Church as it understands itself as sent. Often missed by those who claim the Mainline’s have little to offer the conversation is that Güder is himself a Presbyterian.
Missional seems to have transcended the hoped for stranglehold by Evangelicals to commandeer a term and exploit it for church growth programs. Disciples of Christ use the term. Emergent Christians use the term. Everyone uses the term. But not all in the same way. Enter Sentralized.
My friends Lance Fore (real-time) and Brad Brisco (virtual) look to help create space for instigators and provocateurs. Maybe you are interested in something beyond the affirmations of what you already believe about missional. Could be you do not shy away from conversations that might challenge, stretch, and create new visions for the way the Church could engage the world in its current varied contexts. If so, then Sentralized is a conference you should consider.
Personally, I hope I do not already agree with every speaker. I am hopeful they bring something to this year’s event that agitates, stirs, even tips the scale toward incredulity. The experience will reap more reward than continuing to listen to notions and ideas that only affirm business as usual in the Church. Here’s to hoping. Join me. See you in Kansas City.