What is ‘Missional’…& Are You One of ‘Them’?

Posted: October 14, 2011 in Faith/Christianity, Social Justice/missions
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Being in pastoral transition can have its advantages and drawbacks.  For example, I have much more free time to spend with my family and enjoying other things I love to do, but often get pushed aside due to lack of time (landscaping, reading, sports, media).  You also get a deeper glimpse into the mission, vision and core values of many different churches and leadership teams as you go through the interview journey.

One word, or term, that keeps popping up is ‘Missional.’  I’ve heard this word numerous times and have used it myself.  Churches will often use this term to describe their approach at reaching out to and engaging within the community at-large.  I think it’s a relatively newer trendy buzz word over the past 2-3 years that has gained popularity within the church community, particularly with the younger adult crowd (not real stats on this…just my own personal observance).  But after reading an article in Immerse Journal last month, it appears that this word/term isn’t so ‘new’, and in fact has been tossed in the academic/theological arena for over 25 years.  

According to Kansas City Church Planting Strategist Brad Brisco, there are many expressions of the term missional, although most just end up leading to a confused understanding (or lack thereof).  So just what exactly does missional mean, and what significance does it play in the church and Christian life?  

Some view missional as the latest church growth strategy, or a better way of doing church evangelism.  Others see missional as a means to mobilize church members to do missions more effectively. Still others believe missional is simply the latest Christian fad that will soon pass when the next trendy topic comes along. However, I would argue that those who believe missional is merely an add-on to current church activities, or perhaps even a passing craze prevalent only among church leaders, have simply not fully grasped the magnitude of the missional conversation. While it may sound like hyperbole; the move towards missional involves no less than a complete and thorough recalibration of the form and function of the church of Jesus Christ.  (Brad Brisco- Immerse Journal Aug. 30, 2011)

Brisco outlines 3 key elements that should identify a missional church life;

  1. Missional Church is about the missionary nature of God and His Church
  2. Missional Church is about incarnational ministry in a post-Christendom context
  3. Missional Church is about actively participating in the missio Dei, or mission of God

Here’s a dictionary definition of missional, which I think also captures good depth and meaning of missional living (from various perspectives)…but see for yourself!  You can read the rest of Brad Brisco’s article (from above)- Missional: More Than a Buzz Word.  

I too have wrestled with the concept of what it truly means to be ‘missional’…to live out the mission of Christ in my life, and within the world/context He placed me in.  And in order to do that, you have to understand what God’s mission is for mankind…He created…we rebelled and fell out of perfection…He came to the rescue @ the cross (reconciliation)…and He’s set things in motion towards restoration, after judgement, of all things.  And just as God sent His son Jesus, and in reality Himself, to earth with a mission to accomplish and a message to proclaim, so we are sent by Christ to share that same message;

  • God’s original plan
  • our part in messing things up
  • and the hope we have in Christ in bringing freedom from ourselves, the world, sin and the hope of all things better than new one day!  

You can read all about this plan and hope in the first 10 books of Romans (there’s many more places in scripture you can turn, but this is a great place to start…kinda like theology 101 from the apostle Paul!).  But wait…there’s more…if you act now you can gain access to these 2 videos that will change your life!  (well maybe not quite, but it may change your understanding, or at least raise it, of what this whole missional living thing means…I know it did for me!)




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