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Mission-minded or Missional

July 30, 2010

Have you heard about the Missional Church? Missional has become a bit of a buzz word among evangelicals. It is a word that is spoken often, yet I wonder how often it is understood. Even among those who speak the word, there is often a confusion between being mission-minded and being missional.

The Missional Church Network defines Missional as having three theological distinctions:

  1. The Missional Church is about the missionary nature of God and His church.
    The Missional Church recognizes the purpose of the church is derived from the very nature of God which in turn compels it to be sent as a missionary people, individually and collectively.
  2. The Missional Church is about the church being incarnational rather than attractional.
    The missional church is more concerned about sending the people in the church out among the people of the world, rather than getting the people of the world in among the people of the church. (emphasis mine)
  3. The Missional Church is about actively participating in the missio Dei, or mission of God.
    A church with a missions program usually sees missions as one activity alongside many other equally important programs of the church. A missional church, on the other hand, focuses all of its activities around its participation in God’s agenda for the world.

There is a distinction between being mission-minded, and being missional. “Missional means actually doing mission right where you are.”  “Missional means adopting the posture of a missionary, learning and adapting to the culture around you while remaining biblically sound.” “Missional means being a missionary without ever leaving your zip code.” (Ed Stetzer, President of Lifeway Research, Planting Missional Churches (Nashville: TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003, p. 19)

Being missional is an entire way of life, a way of life that is not possible without God being in charge.

All you do changes to be about God’s agenda and not our own. Personally, I have encountered many who are mission-minded. They believe in the distinctions outlined above, and they are talking about living out mission in their own towns and neighborhoods, yet they lack action. If you look at how they spend time, money, energy, and resources the focus is not outward on others, but on themselves, their networks, their churches, and their agendas. Like may movements before there is a great deal of talk, but our actions do not yet show a true committment to change.

What will it take for us to be missional? Will our hearts, goals, mindsets, and agendas change?

How much time have you spent in the community this month? How many non-church attenders have you engaged with, and how much time have you spent learning and adapting to the culture of non-church attenders? How are you living out being a missionary?

Being missional is possible, but few are living it out. Are you willing to be one of them?

What step can you take today so you are sent out to the people?

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