I “parked” some links to various “missional posts” in my email archives and just found them again. Good timing since we have been talking about “what does it mean to be missional?” as a church staff over the past few months. A question that is difficult to answer since there seems to be no accepted definition. Being one that likes bullet points I found 19 Things Missional Is Not to be insightful. Chuck Warnock, aka Amicus Dei, says a list of things that missional is not includes:
- A church growth strategy with mission projects.
- A strategy of any kind.
- A really cool word.
- Getting a group together to do “servant evangelism.”
- The externally-focused church.
- The sixth purpose of the church — or even one of the five.
- A program.
- A philosophy.
- Layering outreach projects on top of what you are doing at your church.
- The latest jargon for the same old thing.
- The same as emerging, ancient-future, house church, simple church, or any of the other flavors out there.
- One-size fits all.
More helpful is his post on 10 Things Missional Is. What I like about both posts (by one who seems unabashedly “missional”) is that they underscore that it isn’t some new technique to build your church or do evangelism or manipulate people. It is something that we, and our churches, must “be” at the core.
Missional is not a new call or task for the church (though it may be a new word). Dave DeVries emphasizes that missional activity is not optional. In a comment on this post Dave also has some thoughts on foreign and local missional activity. He says,
I don’t think there should be a debate of foreign missions versus homeland missions. Both are necessary.
Missionaries are needed to transform America. Local churches must prepare missionaries for both global and local ministry. Jesus is the One who sends; local churches are to prepare those whom He is sending. Every believer is sent somewhere—either to their local culture or to a distant culture.
Finally, this short paper by Tim Keller might be helpful.
Finally, finally, for some missional is a “spiritual” word used as an excuse to be worldly.