Take the Missional Challenge is a 31 Day experience designed to help align believers with Jesus’ mission. Each day’s post includes missional concepts and activities. For more information – click here.
Over the last decade, the word “missional” has been used with increased frequency.
- Is it really a word?
- What does it mean?
Here’s a simple explanation of the word missional – it describes “being sent to embody the mission and message of Jesus everywhere.”
Yes – it is a real word. It’s the adjectival form of the word “missionary.”It can be used to describe activities, practices, behaviors, leaders, churches, movements, etc. Missionary is a noun; missional is an adjective. Using the term as a noun doesn’t make sense.
When you use the word missional, it should be related to participation in God’s mission in the world. Van Sanders notes this –
Missional then, no mater what noun it is modifying, must qualify the meaning of that noun by referencing God’s mission as defined by Scripture. More specifically, missional limits any noun that it modifies to the temporary mission task of the Church to make disciples of all ta ethne for God’s glory and worship. Therefore, a local church is missional when it intentionally pursues God’s mission for His glory among all peoples by following His patterns and ways of expanding His kingdom. (from The Mission of God and the Local Church, 2006)
The concept of missional is rooted in the missio Dei which means “the sending of God.” You can explore more about this here.
The important thing to understand today is that God is a missionary God and He has sent the Church to participate in His mission of reconciling the world to Himself. God is the initiator of mission — the Church is the instrument of that mission.
Our mission has not a life of its own; only in the hands of the sending God can it truly be called mission. Not least since the missionary initiative comes from God alone…. Mission is thereby seen as a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument fro that mission. There is church because there is mission, not vice versa. (David Bosch, Transforming Mission, 1991)
It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church. (Jurgen Motlmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, 1977)
The Church is sent into the world to continue that which he came to do, in the power of the Spirit, reconciling people to God. (Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 1989)
God’s church falters from exhaustion because Christians erroneously think that God has given them a mission to perform in the world. Rather, the God of mission has given his church to the world. It is not the church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a church in the world. The church’s involvement in mission is its privileged participation in the actions of the triune God. (Tim Dearborn, Beyond Duty, 1997)
The church is missionary by nature because God has sent it on a mission in the world under the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is to bear witness to God’s redemptive reign. Just as God is a missionary God, so the church is to be a missionary church. (Craig Van Gelder, The Essence of the Church, 2000)
Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21)
Every believer is SENT by Jesus with the message of the CROSS together in COMMUNITY to those in the surrounding CULTURE for the KING and His KINGDOM.
DAY 4 ACTION STEP: Seek to Embody these Missional Distinctives
- Sent by JESUS
(John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matt 28:19–20; Acts 1:8)
Jesus sent His disciples on a mission! The Church does not exist to bring other Christians in; the Church is sent out into the culture with the gospel! The Missional Church defines itself in terms of its mission—being sent ones who take the gospel to and incarnate the gospel within a specific cultural context. The essence of missionality begins by looking outward.
- Sent with the CROSS
(1 Cor 1:18, Eph 2:16, Col 2:14, 1 Pet2:24, 2 Cor 5:17–24)
Jesus came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost. He accomplished salvation through the cross. By dying on the cross, He paid the penalty for sin and satisfied God’s wrath. Without the cross, there is no salvation, no forgiveness, and no hope. Because of the cross, there is eternal life! The mission and message of Jesus surround the cross. “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
- Sent in COMMUNITY
(Acts 2:42–47; 5:42; John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:16–17)
Jesus loves the Church! He gave His life to redeem the Church! Fellowship and community together in Christ is important. “Life is Better in Community.” Yet the Church is not here on earth just to enjoy nurturing relationships with other Christians and to throw arms around each other and sing Kum-by-ya. Community exists for Mission! Christians are to bring the gospel together to the culture. The Church exists for the sake of the world.
- Sent to every CULTURE
(John 1:14; Matt 20:28; Acts 17:22–34; Luke 5:29) George Peters notes, “If man is to be reached, he must be reached within his own culture.” This principle is certainly applied when God became a man in the form of Jesus to come to earth and incarnate the gospel. As missionaries sent by Jesus, every Christian must learn to exegete their surrounding culture, uncovering the language, values, and ideas of the culture. Using this information, they take steps to reach people with the gospel message in the context of the surrounding culture.
- Sent for the KING AND HIS KINGDOM
(Matt 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Rev 11:15–17; Jer 10:7; John 18:36)
The kingdom was central to Jesus’ message and mission. The Book of Acts ends with Paul, under house arrest in Rome, “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). Christians are sent to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom everywhere so that others may enter the kingdom.
For further understanding, explore article on Wikipedia: Missional Living.
Day 4 Missional Challenge: Contemplate the significance that every believer has been sent by Jesus with the Cross in Community to the Culture for the King and His Kingdom. Consider how you will live as a “sent one” on mission for the King.
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