We went to a party in Essex on Saturday evening. It was a blast. Great to celebrate Juliet's 40th and catch up with people.
We needed the sat nav to get us there and fairly near the end of the journey we hit a dead end. The sat nav wanted us to go straight on and right but a no entry sign and barrier prevented it. It's maps were wrong. The landscape had changed and the map hadn't caught up with it.
Alan Roxburgh tells as similar story in his new book called Missional Map-making: skills for leading in times of transition. The first chapter is available on the publisher's website (here). The book will be available next month.
I think Roxbugh is the most interesting of the missional thinkers currently writing. I find his use of maps as metaphor really helpful. A key point he's making is that most us are still using maps that relate to a landscape that no longer exists, so it's not surprising that as churches we can't find our way in the world.
Equally, it's not surprising that none of our neighbours has much of a clue what we're talking about when we share our faith.
The environment in which we are seeking to be church has changed faster and more radically over the past 25-30 than at any time since the Reformation/Renaissance. The best guide to this is a wonderful book called The 500 Year Delta by Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker.
It simply means that our models for action and community are no longer up to the job.
Yesterday evening we began asking the question what is our mission and what do we need to be in order to do it. Next week we'll ruminate further on it. I wonder if most of us have grasped the scale of the challenge...