Stetzer Interview with Addison

kinnon —  August 14, 2009 — 3 Comments

Ed has a good interview with Steve Addison (who I mentioned in my review of We Love The Church, a few posts south of this one) up on Ed’s blog. I should have my copy of Steve’s book, Movements that Change the World in hand shortly (according to Amazon) and will add my own thoughts. I like this from Steve in response to an Ed question,

You don’t get dramatic expansion of a movement if everyone is a paid professional. If anyone is paid, they are paid to pioneer new fields and mobilize others. Whether they are in New York or New Delhi, that’s what missionaries do.

The last characteristic (of dynamic movements) is adaptive methods. The best illustration of an adaptive method I can think of is the game of soccer. Soccer is the world’s game played by hundreds of millions and watched by billions. Why? I think it’s because you can drop a ball at the feet of a three year old and she can start playing. It may take a lifetime of practice to master the game, but only an instant to begin enjoying it. Try doing that with American or Australian football.

Adaptive methods are simple, flexible and transferable. That’s one reason why Jesus taught by telling stories. A good story, like the prodigal son, can be told by anyone to anyone, even across the boundaries of culture and time.

Movements are unchanging when it comes to their core message and beliefs. At the same time they are willing to change everything else to get that message out and get the job done. Unfortunately we have churches that are unwilling to change their methods, but quite happy to change the heart of the gospel. They have the worst of both worlds and the fruit is clear to see. (Emphasis added)

And when you are done reading Ed’s interview, please pop over to Dave Fitch’s blog and read Dave’s Missional Church Planting, A Report.

When it comes right down to it, planting a missional community is simply asking 12-15 people to get up and move to a different location and go live into the Kingdom there in the same way that “you’re already doing here.” I know – easier said than done. Of course, you’re going to a strange place so you have to think about getting jobs and a place to live, if you have children, schooling and other issues. All this means is that you’ll be forced to trust God in ways you haven’t had to more recently. Of course, you’ll be alone so you’ll be highly dependent upon the friends and comrades that go with you. You’ll have to be intentional about community because, without your normal social busyness, the isolation of your life will be more apparent if you don’t. And of course, you’ll be forced to live life in the Kingdom because you will have moved here explicitly to seek God, His Kingdom, His working to “set the world right.” You’ll be coming together explicitly to see God work in redeeming lives and shaping a way of life that is rich in Kingdom relationships. In reality then, planting a missional community with 15 others is a spiritual discipline one should engage in if one really wants to have one’s eyes opened to the power of God released in His Kingdom thru Jesus Christ and to engage deeply in that. It is a rich way of life that cannot be surpassed in this lifetime. How else would you want to live life?

Of course I don’t want to over-romanticize missional church plantings. Many go on a missions trip overseas and come back changed for a time. Planting a missional community does this same thing for a lifetime. On a short-term missions tirp however, you can romanticize God’s Kingdom for two weeks and then escape back to routine making that missions trip seem even more romantic (and of course I still highly recommend missions trips). In going and seeding a missional community you must face the boredom and disappointments that come with everyday life in the Kingdom.

I will do my very best to have part 2 of the interview Imbi and I shot with Ed Stetzer and Dave last November, up before the beginning of September. I apologize for the rather long wait. It’s been a very busy 2009 – and the busyness is not about to let up. If you missed part one, it’s available via the right sidebar of this blog.

And this video of Fitch is worth viewing, even if you have already,

Dave Fitch – the Cultivate Talk on Missional Orders from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

3 responses to Stetzer Interview with Addison

  1. Here’s my question Bill.
    Is the missional church plant approach limited to just churches, or is this an insight into the nature of human community as God designed it, and therefore applicable to every human context?

    Could a donut shop be missional, or a golf course or a school, a factory, a movie theater, a law enforcement agency, etc, etc.?

    My question touches on the common/special grace question.

  2. I’ve thought about this a bit more.

    Many of the things that Steve Addison says make sense to me, but only as they are stand alone ideas. When put into a larger organizational theory context, it raises questions in my mind.

    1. Who is starting these movements. Are they groups of people that organically organized to plant churches, or are they institutionalize denominational structures that are doing this as “evangelistic mission” work?

    2.If what Addison says is true, then what are the implications for denominational legacy structures? Are there no instances of transformation of those structures from within? Or, have not tried because it is not part of our organizational philosophy? Is there a pattern of entrepreneurial innovation that plants a church, and over time that church becomes institutionalized and therefore loses its evangelistic edge? If this is the pattern, why do we accept it as so?

    I see this pattern in all institutions, regardless of type. And one of the causes that I identify is the loss of their mission or calling. As a result, there is little adaptation happening and more consolidation and formalizing going on. Constantly changing the structure to be aligned to the mission which must adapt itself to its culture is the only way that sustainability can be achieved.

    3. Who defines the fringe? Isn’t everyone and every group at the center of their own culture? Does that not mean that the fringe is not a static idea proffered by HQ? Rather, is not the determination of the fringe totally dependent upon wherever the center is? Who defines the center? Are we not playing conceptual games with the notion of the fringe? By that, I mean, if you are in a house church, a mea-church, a multi-site church or a traditional mainstream denominational congregation, where is the fringe. My point is that whatever culture the group has formed around is no longer the fringe. And the question of who is the stranger becomes an operative one that must be asked in order to maintain some connection to ongoing adaptation.

    I’m all for planting churches. I’m just not convinced that we are doing something that innovative and “fringy”. It is just a more palatable way of doing what we’ve been doing for generations. I’m not convinced that it has the impact it claims.

  3. Ed,
    I’ll respond when I’ve read the book. It’s supposed to arrive by boat later today.

    Good points to consider.


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