In my continued graduate work, my current course instructor posed the question, “Would it be theologically accurate to say that a church that is not on mission is not really a church but something else? Perhaps, a social club? What are the implications of an ecclesiology like this?
Ecclesiolatry: Missional-mindeness or self-perpetuating campaigns?
My response was as follows:
It is completely fair and accurate to say that a “church” without mission is not really a church at all. Church and mission are inseparable, yet many social clubs of conservative moral interest continue to insist that their weekly practices are necessary and representative of the kingdom of God. If the practices of church communities were evaluated from an outside perspective, I would venture to say that most would need to remove the word “church” from their poorly designed and sadly executed marketing campaign signage (http://matthewpaulturner.net/jesus-needs-new-pr/church-signs/). Sadly, I think many “church leaders” are not aware of their ecclesiology. There exists a blind “ecclesiolatry” (ecclesia + idolatry) that self-perpetuates empty forms and habits that have improperly come to be known as “church.”
Why does the church continue to self-perpetuate non-missional-mindedness? What are the internal insecurities and distractions that promote inwardly-focused campaigns by church leaders for church communities?