Jan 29, 2008

Being Missional

One of the phrases we hear a lot in church circles is the word "missional."

Although I've heard this phrase used many times, I've rarely come across a clear definition of what this word means.

I would like to propose the following definition. Being missional as a Christian and a church means to think like a missionary. In order for a missionary to be fruitful in his/her mission field, they have to do at least the following things.
  • They have to learn the language of the people. That's pretty clear. In order to communicate, you have to learn the language of the target people.
  • They have to learn the cultural values of the people. Not only is language important, but understanding the values and the culture of the target people is crucial.
  • They have to develop relationships and friendships. Even after learning the language and the cultural values, if the missionary does not develop relationships and friendships, mission and ministry doesn't happen. Developing friendships and relationships is the arena where the gospel message can be communicated.
  • They have to translate the message of the gospel in a way the target audience can understand.
And the reason why this is so relevant to the modern day church is because you don't have to go to Africa or Asia to do mission. George Barna reports that if the unchurched in the US were a nation unto their own, they would represent the fifth largest nation in the world. The reality is that we are surrounded by people who do not know Christ. And, more than ever, we as a church and as Christ-follower must become missional Christians - one's who have a missionary outlook on life. And living our Christian lives this way has to be a part of who we are, a part of our DNA makeup as Christians.

To be a missional church and a missional Christ-follower means that we too will intentionally...
  • learn the language of the unchurched
  • learn the culture of the unchurched
  • develop relationships and friendships with the unchurched
  • translate the gospel message in a way that our unchurched friends and neighbors can understand and relate to
When churches do this, destinies get shaped, lives get changed, and the Kingdom grows.


Anonymous said...

James, i love your blog. Your content is brief, but interesting. we have a similar reading resume and fav. authors. I will preach a message on the sin of preference this sunday, and I have had one on the back of my mind for months called concerning the lack of margin in our lives. Intestingly, you post on both.

Anonymous said...

also, i just finished reading "comeback churches" by Stetzer (I recommend "breakign the missional code" too.) and just FINSHED a 10 week series on Philippians, as I see you are starting one. Wierd. Stay strong in the Lord!

James said...

Thank you for your comments.

You know, God is up to something. The Spirit of God is moving in such a way where His churches are waking up. It's awesome that God's leading us in the same ways.

Thanks again! Let's give em heaven!

Anonymous said...

Forgot another thing: you may want to read "SHaped by God's heart: the practice and practices of missional Churches" by Milfred Minatrea. His introduction alone is worth the price of the book. His definition of a missional church is "reproducing community of authentic disciples, being equipped as missionaries sent by God, to live and proclaim His Kingdom in their world.” it may not be detailed, but it is helpful.

James said...

Thanks! I'll check them out. I'm always looking for good resources.