One thing that seems to keep a church from living on mission with God and from forming missional impulses is a lack of shared imagination. When I say “shared imagination” I mean a shared way of envisioning what life and society can look like when Jesus is Lord of all. When shared imagination is lacking, the Church tightens her grip on what she comfortably knows, postures her heart toward self-survival, and remains stagnant. Stagnancy always leads to death. But when a different way of being and doing life in society is imagined and shared by a community of gospel-formed people, a movement stirs and new life is created over and over again.
Institutions preserve culture. Movements create it. The gospel of King Jesus intends to create a movement in His people that through them creates a different kind of culture, one that seeks to be actively present in society in redemptive and restorative ways. This kind of community is capable of bearing witness to the alternative world God proposes to us in the Scriptures through the work of King Jesus.
In spite of what the picture suggests I have great hope for the Church. The same Holy Spirit who has worked in imperfect people for 2000 years still works in imperfect people. And He still cultivates movements.