Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Becoming Missional: Know WHOSE You Are

Some people seem to be a little tired of the term “missional church” and dismiss it as just another phrase tossed around by those who are unhappy with the way that their church functions. This is a bit unfair. The idea that the church does not HAVE a mission but IS the mission of God in this world is a transforming concept. My concern lies elsewhere with those who assume that the only way to have a missional church is to disassemble the old church and start from scratch.

Many of the most popular books on the missional church make this assumption and provide numerous examples of those who have just left the established church and started something new. Their approach is that “it’s broke, so don’t waste your time trying to fix it.” There is a place for such efforts, but I firmly believe that those of us who have cast our lot with the traditional church can work within its systems to help it become more missional.

How can a church become more missional without casting off everything that it is presently doing? I would like to address that question beginning with this post.

The beginning point of becoming a missional church is to know WHOSE you are. You read that correctly. It is not as important for you to know who you are as a congregation—past history, present circumstances, and future possibilities—but to know the God who called your congregation into being.

Even if your church was birthed out of division and controversy, you are still the people of God and God has something prepared for you to do. The beginning point of joining God on mission is to acknowledge your dependence on God. The church does not exist primarily for its rituals, fellowship, or community involvement; it exists to be part of God’s mission in this world.

If your church wants to become missional, you must begin with the central truth that without God, you can do nothing. The mission of God—missio Dei—is the life of the church. That is the beginning point.


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