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The Missional Church: Video CliffsNotes

Many of you have heard the term “missional” before. It is a buzzword among churches that are seeking to be relevant in their communities in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. Missional churches seeĀ themselves as missionaries and seek to live out this reality everywhere they go.

A lot has been said about the missional church. What do you have to say about it? I’m curious to hear your responses.

9 Comments

  • Will Hatfield says:

    Nice video find, Dave. I appreciate the missional church idea and the contrast here. When “missional” is used in this context, I think it’s a good thing.

  • Greg Long says:

    Yes, it depends on how one defines “missional.” In its most basic sense, it simply means “of or pertaining to a mission.” Of course, the Christian mission is the Great Commission, so being “missional” should simply mean carrying out the Great Commission.

    But as the video points out, “missional” is usually used to define a specific way of reaching people for Christ. It’s hard to find anything wrong with the way it’s presented in the video. But as Ed Stetzer points out, some have created a dichotomy between being “doctrinal” and being “missional” (http://baptistcenter.com/Toward%20a%20Missional%20Convention%20final.pdf, p. 8). And it seems that some define missional as “being like the world to win the world.” For example, if you want to reach men for Christ, give them Christian MMA (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/us/02fight.html). Here’s a great spoof on this use of missional: http://www.spurgeon.org/images/pyromaniac/TeamPyro/e-s_020.jpg).

    So, if by missional you mean what the video says, I’m all for it. But be careful when using the term, because it means different things to different people.

  • Chris says:

    If (and that is a monumental if) you buy the premise of the video – yes being missional sounds great. Frankly, it seems to me this is another case of young upstarts slamming the “old fogies” who did it “wrong”. No church I have ever attended or appreciated has operated like the one characterized in this video. It is a caricature of conservative churches.

    I am thankful for the churches, Pastors and church members I have served with over the years. Make no mistake, I am under 35, work full-time in the tech industry and am eager rouse the church from its slumber. But…if I have to choose between the way my friends 60 and older “did church” and the way many of my 30-something friends are “doing church” – I choose the old way 99 times out of 100.

    We are not nearly as smart as we think we are – and typically far less effective than those “crotchety” old guys we have fun criticizing. Grow up missional proponents. You haven’t come up with any new or revolutionary ideas for reaching your communities.

    Chris Harper
    Fairbanks, AK

  • I do like the concept of missional. However, often “missional” churches focus so much on the embodying or incarnating the love of Christ in ways such as serving the poor that they don’t do a very good job of making disciples of those whom they serve. They may do a great job in hanging out with the “sinners,” but they are not intentionally calling them to repentance, which Jesus was all about too.

    In a classic Ed Stetzer article, he wrote this: “Simply put, I am not interested in a “missional conversation” that does not involve men and women being redeemed, changed, and transformed by the gospel. Yes, it is more than that (and I will write on that in depth over the coming week), but it must include a heart for those far from Christ. We are called to share and show the love of Christ and the beauty of the gospel– both matter.” http://www.edstetzer.com/2010/02/today-i-start-back-blogging.html

  • David King says:

    Hey Chris,

    That video was in no way meant to fire shots at anyone, but to give a quick synopsis on what some believe “missional” means. The model they are contrasting is the attraction model that would be more seeker-sensitive and felt needs oriented, not the “crotchety” conservative churches you were standing up for.

    This missional idea is not anything new, but as to this video it describes a focus of the church being intentional in reaching the lostness of their community through their daily personal evangelism and not through a mere invitational, attraction model of evangelism.

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  • David King says:

    Greg,

    Thanks for that article from Ed Stetzer. That is a great article that I can use for an upcoming paper! You’re the man.

  • Chris says:

    David,

    The video spends an entire minute describing how church “used to be done.” The type of congregation detailed is obviously doing things wrong – i.e. not-missional.

    The premise of missional thinking is, at its very core, reactionary. It is a response to perceived wrongs from the past (or present, if applicable). Older techniques are ill-conceived, poorly-executed and generally inferior. That is the entire point of the video!

    If seeker-sensitive churches were motivating these thoughts I could gladly jump on board. However, I think many of the people singing this tune grew up within a harder-edged, conservative Fundamentalism. In it, two week tent meetings and an emphasis on the pulpit would have been common.

    This video portrays a reaction and simultaneous, implied criticism of someone. If it is liberal, felt-needs churches, sign me up. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the old fogies.

    Chris

  • David says:

    Chris,

    That first part of the video is describing an attraction model of church growth, and it is offering an alternative that focuses on each member a missionary.

    I don’t think it is a reaction to the pulpit driven ministries characteristic of “harder-edged, conservative Fundamentalism” as you put it, but rather a reevaluation of the seeker-sensitive and felt-needs model of church growth.

    I don’t believe the “old fogies” as you describe them were ever known for trying to put on the best and greatest event. I think the video is pretty clearly describing a very different church than the one you are picturing.

    Greg posted a pretty good article on the missional church by Ed Stetzer that might prove helpful.

    Thanks for your interest in the site and your input on the video.

    David

  • Brian says:

    Very helpful video. I appreciated it and also have appreciated much of what the “missional” churches have been saying concerning engaging the lost. The only “rub” I’ve had with this whole thing is a slight sense of frustration from hearing about a “total overhaul” on how we must “do church” every 5 to 10 years. I’m only 28 years old and I’m already starting to weary of the whole “forget everything you’ve been told – here is how you have to do it!” I’m all about churches trying new things, learning from what we have done in the past that hasn’t worked and constantly evaluating their philosophy in light of scripture. However, isn’t it true that what this video says essentially explains what the old “fuddy duddies” who didn’t like the seeker sensitive movement have been saying all along? Perhaps the major difference is the missional church encouraging people to engage the lost instead of cloister in our church programs, schools, and social events. I suppose this is something of which we could be accused. Another question I have is, is their no merit at all to the whole invite your friends to an event model? My understanding is even the quite conservative, very non seeker-driven Metropolitan Tabernacle spends time and money on promoting various events. Should we who are “missional” throw that away all together? Is there a place for modeling cooperatively, what you hope your congregation is doing individually?

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