what does it mean to be missional
3/14/2006 05:07:00 PM
I've often asked myself what it means to be "missional." I went out the web, and began to read what others had to say, and compile some of their thoughts here. Any additional thoughts would be appreaciated.

Off the Ramp
A missional community is a group of Jesus' apprentices who so trust his brilliance and mastery of life, that they learn from him how to be like him for the sake of the world. Through this apprentice/master relationship, the community journeys together to become the fullness of God and thereby become a finite earthly expression of the infinite Tri-Community just as Jesus was in his earthly life. A missional community is about becoming by grace what Christ is by nature. As the community experiences this, wherever the community members live their daily lives, they are learning how to easily, naturally, and routinely embody, demonstrate and announce God's life and reign for the sake of the world around them.
Jesus Creed

'Missional,' if you recall, is a global term for what God is doing in this world and how the follower of Jesus is summoned to participate in that great redemptive work of God. And, if you go back to my posts on gospel, you will see that being missional is to participate in a holistic gospel.

The greatest challenge facing churches today is to live missionally - to develop missionary sensitivities, vision, and practices for engaging in God's mission. The many efforts churches are making to "keep up" or "survive" are futile if this fundamental challenge is not addressed. This missional reorientation represents a profound learning curve for most churches and a strategic opportunity for church leaders.

St Mark's "Lion's Tale" -- Twelve Indicators of a Missional Church

1. The missional church faithfully proclaims the gospel.

2. The missional church is a community where growth in discipleship is expected of all.

3. The missional church is reading the Bible together to learn what it can learn nowhere else.

4. The missional church is consciously seeking to conform itself to Christ instead of to the principalities and powers of this world.

5. The missional church makes its "mission" a priority among its members and in its community.

6. The missional church is known for how Christians love and care for one another.

7. The missional church practices reconciliation and moves beyond homogeneity.

8. People in the missional church hold themselves accountable to one another in love.

9. The missional church practices radical hospitality.

10. Worship is at the heart of the missional church's celebration of God's presence and God's promised future.

11. The missional church makes an impact on the transformation of society and human relationships.

12. The missional church knows that the church itself is an incomplete expression of the reign of God.

Kim Hammond reflects on the characteristics of the Missional Church

For the last fifteen hundred years the church has been at the centre of society and involved with the state. Today in a postmodern era there is a new emerging church rising from the midst of a irrelevant, dated church. It is grassroots and rough. It is being lead by mainly young people and it crosses denomination and organization.

Its form is still shaping and its contexts are ever changing however there are some universal principles that seem to thread these churches together as missional communities. They embrace their culture with simple abandonment. They have smashed the walls of the church and the invisible barriers of the church to reach the world around them.

While at the same time living counter cultural lives that interact with ancient prayers and age-old disciplines. They are rediscovering liturgy, service and prayer as the fuel for the mission.
Larry Chouinard

(1) A missional church is externally focused.

(2) A missional church is culturally engaged without being absorbed.

(3) A missional church is incarnationally not institutionally driven.

(4) A missional church is about discipleship not church membership.

(5) A missional church is patterned after God's missionary purpose in the world.

(6) A missional church seeks to establish Kingdom outposts to retake territory under the control of the Evil One.

(7) A missionary church seeks to plant,grow, and multiply missionary communities.

(8) A missionary church trains and equips new leaders to enter territories under seige by Dark Forces. We learn in the context of mission not in the security of our comfort zone.

(9) A missional church highlights character, virtue, and compassionate deeds as the most effective witness to God's Kingdom.

(10) A missional church connects to Jesus through mission not doctrinal precision.

(11) A missional church adopts an organizational structure and internal forms based on mission not ecclesiastical traditions.

(12) A missional church sees itself as organic and not in static institutional forms.

(13) A missional church pursues relationships across generational, ethnic, economic and cultural lines of distinctions.

(14) A missional church seeks to partner with the community to "seek the shalom" of the community.

(15) A missional church assembles to seek God's presence and to be realigned with God's missionary purpose.

(16) A missionary church seeks to reawaken a movement ethos as together we engage our cultural context.

David Crowder Band, University Baptist Church

It means that we understand ourselves to be missionaries in today's culture. Missionaries are those whose lives are constituted by a mission: to know Him and make Him known - this is our purpose, our goal, and our end in life. An ongoing relationship with God should result in a lifestyle that is God-centered and seeks to incarnate Christ.
Dr. Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

The missional church avoids 'tribal' language, stylized prayer language, unnecessary evangelical pious 'jargon', and archaic language that seeks to set a 'spritual tone.'

The missional church avoids 'we-them' language, disdainful jokes that mock people of different politics and beliefs, and dismissive, disrespectful comments about those who differ with us

The missional church avoids sentimental, pompous, 'inspirational' talk . Instead we engage the culture with gentle, self-deprecating but joyful irony the gospel creates. Humility + joy = gospel irony and realism.

The missional church avoids ever talking as if non-believing people are not present. If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present (not just scattered Christians), eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.

In a 'missional' church, the laity needs theological education to 'think Christianly' about everything and work with Christian distinctiveness. They need to know: a) what cultural practices are common grace and to be embraced, b) what practices are antithetical to the gospel and must be rejected, c) what practices can be adapted/revised.

Missional living is a commonality displayed in emergent churches. In its broadest form, it is the belief that all believers are active missionaries of Christ in their daily lives.

As the term has come to be closely associated with the emerging church movement, it has come to represent the belief that the Spirit of God is alive and active in the people of God, namely the church as a whole. This approach tends to emphasize the importance of the involvement of "laymembers" and "lay-leaders" in churches.

Comments: 5
Blogger blake white said at 3/27/2006 11:52 AM...
Thanks a lot for putting this together. Very helpful!
Blogger the fundamentalist said at 3/27/2006 1:05 PM...
Steve McCoy posted on his blog 4 ways to be missional in an urban setting. Check it out.
Blogger the fundamentalist said at 3/28/2006 11:21 AM...
The Marty Duren of SBC Outpost posted an article on missional churches. Check it out too.
Blogger the fundamentalist said at 4/24/2006 11:18 AM...
From Missional Baptist Blog

A missional church is a community of God's people who live into the imagination that they are, by their very nature, God's missionary people living as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all of creation in Jesus Christ. (p. xv)
Blogger the fundamentalist said at 4/25/2006 9:42 AM...
From the Next-Wave Ezine. Points on being missional.
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