The main impetus behind superficial contextualization is church growth, not gospel communication. As a result, missional may mean: "You can grow your church by getting a cool worship leader, an edgy venue, an anti-religion message, and a preacher with hip clothing."
When we become primarily concerned with church forms---building, music, service, website design---we dip below superficial contextualization into syncretism, blending Christianity with another religion, in this case consumerism. Christian consumerism gives people what we think they want, instead of calling them to what they need: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Instead of cracking the missional code, many churches have cracked a consumer code, attracting people to culturally bland but comfortable services while occasionally injecting them with the feel-good serum of social justice. But if Jesus Christ is Lord, his lordship should produce particular expressions of the gospel---music with local flavor and gospel-rich lyrics, community that incarnates grace in the neighborhood, culture-making that reflects his grandeur, and fresh language that awakens locals to grace.
Some versions of missional are simply a new form of church growth that caters to consumer Christianity. Underneath superficial contextualization lurks a consumeristic impulse that gathers people around church forms instead of Jesus Christ as Lord. This misuse leads us to contaminate both contextualization and the gospel. We try to get people to buy in to a new form of church instead of dying so they might live for Christ. This is troubling.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Missional: The New Christian Consumerism?
Jonathan Dodson in Be Missional, Not Superficially Contextual (emphasis added):