I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the growing use of the word “missional” to describe the church. I’ve seen so many definitions of the word that it makes my head spin. Still, I offer you another definition in the hopes of simplifying the issue.
A missional church is a baptized community of people called to live out the Christ and the Kingdom of God at church, home, work, and play. Rather than focusing on itself and its needs, the missional church focuses on engaging the world with the gospel and being a sign that the reign of God is present, transforming the world.
Okay. Being missional is both a culture and an attitude. At the heart of this culture is a deep-seated love for both Christ and the world. At the heart of this attitude is a passionate love for those who are not yet in love with Christ. The world rather than the church is the heartbeat of this culture and attitude.
So what are the implications of being missional?
- Instead of nominating people to serve in some official capacity within the church, people are commissioned to live out their relationship with Christ at home, work, and play based on their giftedness.
- The surrounding secular community is the focus of ministry rather than the programs within the church.
- Instead of a “build it and they will come” attitude the church understands it is a “we must disciple people where they are.”
- Mission and evangelism committees don’t exist, because everything and everyone in the church is involved in missionary and evangelistic activity.
- Leadership is focused on making disciples instead of on doing programs.
- The prime directive of the church is to transform society, not to ensure that the institutional church is fed.
- God is understood to be a missionary God who invites all people into His fellowship and sends out that fellowship to engage the world.
- Missional churches are always asking, “What is God up to in our city, and how can we be a part of it?”
- A church’s structure follows God’s mission rather than some predetermined form.
- Leadership is more collaborative than authoritative (does not mean the leader doesn’t lead).
- Leaders function more as spiritual midwives, helping others birth their God-given gift, than as authoritative figures (let your imagination run wild on this one).
Question: What would you add to this list to help those who don’t get it, get it? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section below.