Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts on Missional Church

I doubt very much that I would have used the term missional church when I was working on my extended essay in my final year of undergraduate theological study. On the other hand, missional was certainly at the heart of that particular paper. The title, as I recall, was “Re-involving the church in mission: a study of the commissioning statements of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts.” Somewhat pretentious I know, but it was a college essay!  

The thrust of what I wanted to say back then, and what I’m still saying today, is that the church needs desperately to reengage with mission as the heart of its very purpose. At it’s most simple, this is surely what it means to be missional. Whether you are an emergent church, a contemporary church, a seeker-sensitive church, a small church, a mega-church or a traditional church. It doesn’t matter if you are Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Espicopal or none of the above. What matters is that you exist to serve and reach communities beyond the confines of your mortgaged, owned or borrowed buildings. 

We can argue all day about attractional models versus incarnational models, but a church that is not missional is no church at all. It’s a club for the already initiated.  Jesus said quite simply, “Go and make disciples of all the nations”. Even the early church struggled with the idea of going and it took an increased level of persecution to force the church out of its comfort zone and into the wider mission. As the story of Acts unfolds, the church grows, not because Paul or Peter or James had some grand plan, but because God kept moving and the church moved with him.  

When Bill Hybels says that the local church is the hope of the world, I know he is not suggesting that the church is more important than Jesus. What he is saying, I believe, is that the church has been set apart, called, commissioned to carry the message of Jesus (who is after all the hope of the world) into the world. In order to do that we must find a missional expression of church within our present expression of church or change our present expression.

The following people have all agreed to blog about "missional church" today, June 23rd.

Alan Hirsch
Alan Knox
Andrew Jones
Barb Peters
Bill Kinnon
Brad Brisco
Brad Grinnen
Brad Sargent
Brother Maynard
Bryan Riley
Chad Brooks
Chris Wignall
Cobus Van Wyngaard
Dave DeVries
David Best
David Fitch
David Wierzbicki
Doug Jones
Duncan McFadzean
Erika Haub
Jamie Arpin-Ricci
Jeff McQuilkin
John Smulo
Jonathan Brink
JR Rozko
Kathy Escobar
Len Hjalmarson
Makeesha Fisher
Malcolm Lanham
Mark Berry
Mark Petersen
Mark Priddy
Michael Crane
Michael Stewart
Nick Loyd
Patrick Oden
Peggy Brown
Phil Wyman
Richard Pool
Rick Meigs
Rob Robinson
Ron Cole
Scott Marshall
Sonja Andrews
Stephen Shields
Steve Hayes
Tim Thompson
Thom Turner

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