A missional church is rooted in the purpose of God, and understands that God is on a mission to reclaim a People for himself and restore a Creation to it’s orignal beauty. This is known as missio dei – Mission of God.
A missional church recognizes that our culture in North America is no longer an expression of Christendom.
Christendom was a period in history when Christianity was the prevailing religion. During this time Christian thought, directed by the Bible, provided the lense through which people evaluated the world.
We can no longer assume that:
- People are part of a congregation. In the past, most people had some affiliation with a church. Now, most people have no connection with a church, increasing numbers of people have never even been in a church.
- People define Right vs. Wrong based upon some understanding of God’s Standard.
- People necessarily care what the Bible says, much less that most people have any understanding of what it teaches.
- The church can no longer serve as chaplain to a culture, and a People, as if they only need encouragement along Life’s Journey.
- Each congregation must engage the culture(s) in the community where God has sovereignly placed us in the same way that a missionary must engage a foreign culture:
- Learning to understand before trying to be understood.
- Presuming our neighbors have no previous understanding of God and the Gospel – or at best they have a fragmented and distorted understading.
- Look for Redemptive Analogies – stories from within the culture that reflect the truths of God and the Gospel.
- Loving a People who may reject us, and even hate and harm us.
The church must:
- Grow inwardlay strong yet Outwardly Focused.
- Be MORE Incarnational than Attractional
- Evaluate all ministries with a missional lense.
In summary: A Missional Church pours itself out on the community, seeking cultural transformation more than its own prosperity.
2 thoughts on “A Missional Church IS…”
One of the problems with “missional” jargon, is that it is beating up on a straw man. My own take is that the missional church is just saying Christians should do what good churches have always been doing. Every member seems himself/herself as a witness for Jesus Christ, always ready to give an answer for the living hope within us. Loving our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. It’s really nothing new. But I REALLY distrust the idea of embracing the “culture.” If the culture is anti-christian, we have no business embracing it. We can love people without embracing their culture, in my opinion.
By the way, “HI Dennis!” Long time no see.
Marshall in Signal Mountain
Hi, Marshall! Thanks for commenting. It has been a long time. I hope all is well on Signal Mountain.
I’m curious: Do you really think that missional thinking is merely fighting a straw man? It seems to me that most churches in America are opperating under the impression that this is still a Christianized culture. The church will function entirely different depending upon which perception of culture. In a Christian culture the church functions as a chaplain. In a non-Christian culture the church finctions as a mission station and mission movement. The Gospel remains the same, but the mission is different.
Do you see our culture functioning with a Christian worldview, or is some other worldview the driving force?