Well, having a break from my preparations for the research seminars at IBTS in Prague at the end of this month (its going well, if any one is interested – preparing for the case studies I hope to start doing this Spring), I’m going to take the opportunity to briefly comment on the missional roundtable last Saturday. It was a really good day, I must say! It was encouraging and inspiring to meet this varied group of people (12 all together), from practitioners and church planters, to Bible school teachers and denominational staff. It was a relaxed day and whatever issues people brought to the table set the agenda for the discussions.

One thing is for certain, there will be more of these roundtables in the future. There’s definitely a need and desire to just meet up, share one’s stories, thoughts and questions. Hopefully there will be one in the spring, and perhaps one in the summer and one in the autumn. But who knows, maybe there will be more, or there will be less. Anyway, let me know if you’re interested in taking part in one of these gatherings, or if you know of anyone who might be interested.

One issue that was discussed is that of training people for planting missional churches. One thing that was agreed upon is that current situation is problematic – at our seminaries and theological institutions we train pastors and teachers. But what about the prophets, evangelists and apostles, who are key if we want to see a church planting missional movement emerge in Sweden?! And a shared experience is that many young people who apply to study at seminaries say that they don’t want to become “traditional pastors” – they want to do something else, they want to break new ground – but after three/four years of theological studies and training, what happens? They end up being traditional pastors and the pioneering spirit seems to have gone somewhere else. Sad but true, in too many cases. 

But, some people say that the future of a grass-root missional movement does not lay in the hands of trained and paid professionals, but in the hands of ordinary Christians – it is among these people we will see things happen. So why bother with trying to reform and renew the traditional theological institutions anyway? 

I believe that training, equipping and supporting people – whether they are “professional” or just “ordinary” – is a very important strategic question. Sweden is a mission field and we desperately need to train people for that mission, as missionaries – not for sustaining and maintaining the old structures. This requires a huge paradigm shift in how we view the training of leaders in the church, to say the least.

And by the way, if you want to connect with people about this kind of stuff in Sweden or Scandinavia, why not join the Missional Sweden Facebook group or the Missional Tribe Sweden group on missionaltribe.org.