At a recent gathering of those concerned for mission in Europe the question arose about where the missional conversation might be. There are also those who resist the idea of the church being defined by mission and who would prefer to debate what we mean by mission in any case. They see all talk of mission as divisive preferring to concentrate on pastoral care with some evangelism at the margins.
Some prefer the language of “mission shaped church” rather than missional church but whatever language you prefer the basic issue about the conversation around mission remains, how far have we really got?
My observation is that far from the conversation being over, it is more likely the case that for the overwhelming majority the conversation has not really begun. The debate about missional has largely remained amongst those whom we might describe as the “early adopters”.
I want to counsel those early adopters who want to abandon the missional conversation to be more resilient around this issue. When it comes to the missional conversation, its not really possible to look for the next great thing – mission is the thing and must remain so.