This is the first of a series of posts on what’s being called “missional” Christianity or the missional movement. “Missional” is a newly coined term, referring to the mission of God on earth and our mission as Christians to work within God’s mission.
Well, that’s a little too abstract. It’s all about re-thinking church so that we point our lives and our congregations toward serving the world that surrounds us. We serve not only through evangelism (what greater service could there be than teaching salvation?) but also through benevolence–caring for the physical needs of the world as well it’s spiritual needs. After all, God made both our bodies and our souls, and he cares about both. And so must we.
Now, this hardly sounds revolutionary. Churches have been doing benevolence and evangelism forever. And, indeed, merely doing benevolence or evangelism hardly makes a church missional. No, the church becomes missional when the church is all about doing these things–when benevolence and evangelism are no longer one of many programs but the entire focus of the congregation.
Of course, we’ve been pounding the drums for evangelism for decades. Many churches try to focus entirely on evangelism–but that’s not missional. It’s being focused both on benevolence and evangelism–serving the whole man–and then seeing how God powerfully works to synergistically bring those two aspects of his grace into a world-changing whole.
In fact, becoming missional is to adopt an entirely new way of looking at things (a new “paradigm,” as they’d say in business school). It’s a new worldview (as they’d say in philosophy class). It’s even a new hermeneutic (as they say in theology classes).
This is hardly obvious, and it’s hard to explain. In fact, even those who are teaching missionality struggle to articulate why it’s so radically different–and I don’t think any of us will really understand it until many more years have passed. You see, I’m convinced that this movement, this “missionality,” is from God, not man, and God hasn’t fully revealed his plans for his church.
He’s told us what to do, of course, but the full implications are not yet clear. And I know I’ve not really explained this very well. I’m going to need a few more posts to make my point.
One final note: I’m using the same icon for the missional posts as I’m using for Luke, as missionality derives directly from the Gospels–from trying to live as Jesus lived.