Great chatting yesterday with Ben at Urban Hope. As part of his MA at Kings he was chatting with Pete about Inside Out – Outside In and Outside Out mission. Pete Ward had suggested there always had to be an In. I obviously had not been part of the conversation so am in a bit of a vacuum here but…..
There is only an in if your work is church centred rather than mission centred and much of so called incarnational mission is still hamstringed as it operates on a version of the eccelesiocentric the bridge model, ie youth work as bridge into church. For many relational youth work has become a corrupted tool (often unknowingly), used in place of the youth drop in, or programme or alpha as way to get young people into church (albeit a hipper, more relevant version). This approach is a long way from the kingdom/shalom notions of incarnational missio dei that inspired relational youth ministry. Here there is no in there is only being and becoming, equality, reciprocal, open set, unbounded, redefining and discovering what church can be. It is model of missional church inline what see of the metaphors of what church is in the bible, (see Off the Beaten Track) that collapses the idea of a bridge, to see church emerge, outside out!
The idea of having an in at all in a post christian mission context simply reinforces my last post that we are asking the wrong questions, often have the wrong start point, and how embedded the eccelesiocentric paragdigm is in our structures, thinking and imagination.