Sending in the cheerleaders...
(David) As the Church of Christ goes about its business in this world it's important for us to remember what that business is. Our purpose is victory: the name of Christ proclaimed in the midst of His enemies, sinners snatched from the fire, glorious good deeds exalting our God.
Our purpose as the Church of Jesus Christ is not to be winsome--no matter how valuable winsomeness is in its own right--but to win.
It is essential that we be winsome in winning. But the goal is victory--the kingdoms of this earth becoming the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ--not simply having others appreciate us.
I say this because as I listen to declarations of purpose by leaders of "missional" churches, it strikes me that they often confuse character with goal. They've made winsome character paramount, and while winsomeness is a very good thing in its place, it becomes a bad thing when it's confused with the ultimate goal of the Church: living to the glory of God, declaring His name, advancing the Kingdom of Christ, transforming the kingdoms of this earth into the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.
It's as though the coach of a Christian football team facing a formidable foe tells his players to show love to their opponents, to display the character of Christ on the field so that they bring glory to God, and the team, hearing their coach speak of love and winsomeness decide that, rather than risk looking nasty by playing to win, they'll honor their coach's command by fielding the cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are pretty...
They don't play rough. They're nice to be around. Everyone's happy in the end.
The problem with the philosophy of "missional" churches is that too often their elevation of winsomeness leads to them fielding cheerleaders against the world's football teams. They're being kind. They're displaying love. But they're not advancing the ball and they've lost sight of the scoreboard.
This is the problem with confusing an element of Christian character with the overall goal of the Church: other essential character traits become downplayed, love trumps all, even the courage of faith, and the team with the hottest cheerleaders is deemed to have won in the end.