Yesterday he stretched our western validation of our ministry model with some pretty pertinent questions. Taking us through the Ralph Winter missiological process of M0 to M4 [steps that missionaries have to process to minister into new missionary platforms - where M0 is where we are on the same cultural page as the community we are trying to reach and M1, M2, M3, M4 are further and further from our cultural world], Alan engaged us in how our missional mindset has to change.
Our western worldview and cultural reality is no longer strongly overshadowed by the city center cathedral, so we are ministering more and more into very Christianity-unfriendly environments in which the practices and programs that got us this far are probably not going to get the job done. These great old 'wineskins' that were so genius in the 90's are now leaking at an alarming rate and we will run out of gas within the next 10 years.
The most challenging of questions was raised with this notion; based on research over many years, it may be generally true to say that we are working on a 60 / 40 window in the USA [as a general rule]. This research showed that only around 40% in the average American City connects with the attractional model [culture, style and message]that the boomers so popularized in the 80's and 90's. However, even in these best practices, this model [of most mega-churches] can at best reach 40% of the population. Then the question arises, how and who will reach the 60% [a number that by all research is growing every year]?
This is not a conversation about being cool, hipster, gimmicky. This is a highly gospel-centered investment. How are we going to become "missionaries" in our own cities and reach this unreached people group who eat at our restaurants, work in our buildings, live in our 'hoods but do not know Jesus? These are major questions that need to fashion our ecclesiology into the next generation. Jesus has brought all nations to our doorstep, so that the gospel that needs to go "to all nations then the end will come," can now be done by us in our every day.
It is time to reach the 60% in our world. What will that look like?