Becoming a Missional Church

Recently, I have been hearing bukus of bloggers and others expressing a desire for their churches to become more “missional.” Even though squiggly red lines will appear under “missional” if you type it in Word, the word has become almost as common as “emergent” in church circles. This is not a bad thing; in fact, this is a great thing. Being a rebelrowser, however, it is my duty to raise a few questions.

First, I think “missional church” ought to be a redundant phrase, like “idiot Yankee fan” or “sloppy journalism.” I know that more than a few churches do not exhibit the participation in God’s mission that they ought, but I think we need to remember that mission is engrained in the very DNA of what it means to be “church.”

That said, how does a church become “missional” if its leaders feel it is not already? Does it add another outreach program? Does it add to or take away from the name on its sign? Does its leaders begin talking and blogging about “missional church” all the time? Or does it, in fact, require a complete change in DNA, or the genetic makeup of the church? I argue that a re-evaluation and re-shaping of a church’s core DNA is the step for participating fully in God’s mission.

Here are a few questions I would ask if I were a church leader taking a look at the congregation’s DNA in order to become more “missional”:

1. What is “church”, according to the New Testament and early Christian history? (see Proverbs 24:27; Mark 4:26-29; John 21:21; Acts 2; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4)
2. Is any aspect of our congregation complicating the above definition of what it means to be “church”?
3. Are certain structures that are in place in my congregation challenging to the above definition?
4. Starting over, how does our DNA need to be tweaked to more fully see the power of Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships, and Apostolic Mission played out in our presence?

Whatever you do, read this short but great article. Neil Cole communicates these ideas a whole lot better than I can.

What did you think of the article? My list of questions? What would you add or subtract?

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