5 Subtle Shifts That Sabotage Mission

mission creepLarry Osborne’s latest book, Mission Creep, deals with the five subtle shifts that he perceives distract the church from its main business. His five are as follows:

  1. From disciples to decisions – a shift away from the long hard work of making disciples toward simply getting people to make ‘first commitments.’ Perhaps, for my own constituency, this is less of a problem, but I have observed it in other places.
  2. From obedience to doctrine – a shift away from personal obedience/godliness toward a love for doctrinal correctness. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the latter, but Osborne’s observation is that some of the young angry (sorry, restless) reformed crew spend more time arguing over infralapsarianism, than they do growing in grace, charity, and love.
  3. From persuasion to warfare – a shift away from trying to win people toward spiritual warfare with everyone and everything in cultural. I think there’s a balance to be had here. We are to be salt and light; we are to persuade letting our gentleness to be evident to all; and yet we are in a spiritual battle. I guess the manner in which we seek to win others is key here.
  4. From people to numbers – a shift from caring for individuals to an obsession with statistical growth. Interestingly (and I’m not sure this would work in the UK) they ask all the small groups leaders to register home group attendance. If someone doesn’t show at home group for a few consecutive weeks they get a pastoral call.
  5. From Jesus to Justice – a shift away from calling people to personal repentance and submission to the Lordship of Christ toward a gospel of social justice. He’s clear that he is pro Christians being involved in justice issues, but he’s worried that, in some circles, justice trumps all.

Overall Osborne makes some good points. The book is short and easy to read, however I don’t think it’s a patch on his Sticky Church or Sticky Teams. If you can pick it up cheap give it a skim.


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