Wednesday, February 13, 2008

an A to Z beginners guide to the missional conversation: 3rd and final part

OK, here’s the 3rd, and final installment in the A to Z beginners guide to the missional conversation. Thanks for all the positive feedback. If you like to start your alphabet from A, go here.

O is for ordinary. In Luke 10, the disciples are not named. The task of mission to given not to the high profile disciples, but to everyday folk. Missional church seeks a similar attention to the ordinary and the everyday. It believes that in the suburbs and at the urban street corners, among the lay and the old, the young and the inexperienced, God can be at work. Which is why it seeks to cultivate an open and participatory conversation at the tables of everyday life.

P is for participation. The future of God is among the ordinary people of God. Thus the missional church seeks to cultivate an environment in which these people are able to name the Kingdom. By nature, people are polite. They go quiet in the presence of experts. Hence the missional conversation is aware that entrepreneurs and CEO’s can silence people, the very people who might have the story that allows the Kingdom to be named. So the missional conversation seeks practises that get the table talking.

Q is for questions. The chain of questions set of by that one question: “Can the West be won?”

R is for Roxburgh, Alan. Author. Pastor. Consultant. And director of Allelon, who are involved in two significant missional projects – the Mission and Western Culture project and the Schools project. Both worth keeping an eye on.

S is for spiritual practices. Descartes gave us the dictum: “I think, therefore I am.” And so theology was offered to the head. Yet Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. So Christianity is a relational way of living. In other words, spiritual practices. Practices overcome the separation of head from heart; of theology from practioners; of seminaries from churches, for what we do and how we act are expressions of theological belief. Missional conversation cultivates spiritual practices; like dwelling, like listening, like receiving hospitality.

T is for tables. That’s where you sit when you follow Luke 10. Tables takes the missional conversation from buildings and Sunday and places it in homes, amid relationships, with everyday conversations. Tables celebrates diversity, for the 70 disciples of Luke 10 went to different table in diverse villages. Thus the missional conversation asks you to consider the unique tables at which you sit.

W is for Western. Cultures of European origin, marked by a set of literary, scientific and philosophical ideas. It is in this context that modernity began to flourish and which exerts such enormous influence on our world today and in which the missional conversation seeks the Incarnational Christ.

W is also for women. At the risk of stereotypes, women tend to be naturally better at creating relational conversations and, thus are more likely to intuitively be missional leaders.

U is for …..; V is for ….; X is for ……..; Y is for ……….; Z is for ………. I am stuck on these, (along with G). Suggestions appreciated.

More links
For A to H of missional conversation, go here.

For I to N of missional conversation, go here.

For an A to Z of emerging church, go here

Posted by steve at 08:28 PM


  1. here’s a humble offering:
    G for grace. The missional conversation seeks to be flavoured by grace
    U for Unity. Moving beyond doctrinal disputes to a unity around Jesus and the Kingdom
    V for values. People made in God’s image, story, conversation, listening etc. These values and others need to guide the conversation
    X for X-ray. Cheesy yes, but also reflecting transparency. See the messy processes not just the controlled outcomes.
    Y for yeast. Yeast working its way through dough reflects the Kingdom of God
    Z for Zesty! Missional offers new flavours and fresh tastes.
    I hope this stimulates people to offer better thoughts than these! Thanks for the helpful guide Steve.

    Comment by Rob Gray — February 14, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  2. Hi Steve, I wonder if G could be generosity: many of the other letters seem to imply a needed generosity of spirit and attitude, a willingness to ‘get out there’ and relate / converse.


    Comment by Jan — February 14, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  3. Hey Steve!!

    I like it a lot, great job!

    another idea is V for variety – and/or voices. Missional conversation means listening to people with a diversity of experience – from long-time practitioners to the completely unchurched.

    Comment by Deborah Taggart — February 14, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

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