I am sitting on stage with missionary team, Nate and Deb Dunlevy. Currently on home missions, Nate and Deb had contacted me about helping at the church. "We'll do whatever," Nate said. I thought about having him head up our laundry ministry, but funding has been an issue. So I came up with a better solution: Teach us how to be missional.
While the term missional has gained prominence in church-planting/growth literature (albeit, not enough to escape the nasty red underline of a misspelled word!), it hasn't stuck enough for us to employ homebound missionaries the right way.
Typically, the missionary will report with statistics, slides, and stories, followed by a request to partner with prayer and/or money. Sometimes the lesson will go further, educating us on the culture where they serve--specific challenges, values, and customs.
But most of the data comes already processed: facts and figures and field reports.
We hear about your culture, show but not how you unwrap it.
We hear about your context, but not how you contextualize.
We hear how you are sent, but not how we are.
We are asking the wrong questions.
What is the process?
Stepping down from the platform, Nate begins with a question. "What is culture?" Walking to the white board, he begins to explain.