What is a “missional” church? Some say that it is redundant…like saying
“feline cat” or “canine dog.” Some say
it is a model (I disagree). Some say it
is a movement (I hope so). I say it is a
Missional is not a model like “purpose-driven,” “traditional,” “seeker sensitive,” or “emerging.” Any model can be missional, if they have the right mindset.
Church growth is not a priority for a missional church. Missional churches focus on the community and connectivity that occurs best in smaller gatherings. An emphasis is placed on reproducing churches rather that growing our church. Success is not gauged by the crowd on Sunday, but by the multiplication of disciples and churches.
Missional churches are not consumer-oriented. Some established churches have become vendors of religious goods and services, placing an emphasis on meeting the needs of church shoppers; attracting a crowd. Missional churches see themselves as an equipping and sending center, placing emphasis on preparing missionaries to engage culture.
Missional churches are actively participating in the Missio Dei – the Mission of God. The participation is not merely giving money to foreign missionaries and sending teams on mission trips (although that is included). Rather, members of missional churches are living out the Missio Dei in their own zip code and beyond. It is a mindset, an identity; they see themselves as missionaries.
In missional churches, we do not see ourselves as telemarketers making sales pitches to advance our church attendance goals. Rather, we see ourselves as salt, light, and leaven penetrating our culture, incarnating the gospel in our context.
Missional churches do not see the Missio Dei as an event or program (like weekly visitation or annual carnivals). In contrast, we see the Missio Dei as all of life, wherever we find ourselves. As the Great Commission states, “as we go” through life we are always on mission. We don’t compartmentalize mission to an event or activity. Mission is life.
Missional is a mindset; an identity; a way of living. Any church can be missional.