A Missional Church

Posted on 03/08/2007

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My desire is to transform our church to become a fellowship of disciples that has fully embraced the mission given to us by our Lord to reach our community with his gospel.  The Bible record is consistent and clear in its recording of the fact that Christ Jesus taught his followers that they also were to be a missionary people.[1]  The missionary God sent Christ Jesus as a missionary to redeem the world.  The missionary Christ has in turn left all who are his people with the mission of going into the world to make disciples, (Matthew 28.18-20).                                                                                                                                             

The typical Christian needs to better understand the mission of God, the mission of Christ, and the subsequent mission of the church of which they consist.  The fact is that, “Many North Americans fail to understand the ontology (nature) and praxis (function) of the Church.”[2]  There is a great need to recapture a realization and understanding of the role that each Christian is called to have in fulfilling the mission of the Church.  The pastors and church staff are not the only ones who are called to be on mission for Christ.  In order for a church to have its greatest impact for the cause of Christ, it must recapture the vision of being a community of people who are joining the mission of Christ to redeem a lost people for himself.  Evangelism must become more than just a ministry of the church.  Evangelism must become more than just an activity of certain trained or gifted people in the church and be recognized as the ongoing mission that every Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in, (Acts 1.8).  This way of thinking moves the church toward becoming missional.                                                              

The understanding that the church is called to be “missional” is a concept that is garnering much attention in America.  Jim Thomas has observed that:

 

“On the one hand, missional hints at moving from church as a “club” for Christians, to church as Christ’s body, sent by God to reconcile the world to Himself. On the other hand, missional means moving from missions as an activity in which a few Christians are sent to foreign countries to convert unbelievers, to mission as God’s most basic purpose, intended for all believers.”

                The point is that there is a difference between being “mission-minded” and being “on mission.”  Too often mission is considered to be an activity that is conducted on foreign soil.  I truly believe that it is of vital importance for the church to embrace the fact that we are to be a missionary entity right in the middle of a lost and dying world.   


[1] Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi, Mission an Essential Guide, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 29.  

[2]J.D. Payne, The Challenge of the Great Commission, Chuck Lawless and Thom S. Rainer, editors (U.S.A.: Pinnacle Publishers, 2005), 109.

[3]Jim Thomas, The Missional Church, http://www.urbana.org/_articles.cfm?RecordId=993 

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