What Does It Mean To Be “Missional”?

What Does It Mean To Be "Missional"? - T E Hanna | Of Dust & Kings
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It’s not so much that the Church has a mission, but that God’s mission has a Church.

So speaks one of the great words of wisdom from Dr. Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research as he traces the history and understanding of the “missional church” for our modern context.

This video is the second one from the Asbury Seedbed that I have shared in preparation for the After The Dust Has Settled conversations and the Five Minute Faith videos that this site will be launching in February. The first event will feature a conversation on language and culture with Christopher Gorton, author of The Problem With Christ.

These live Google Hangouts will be available to the public, allowing you to ask questions and join in the conversation in real time. After the event, I will be sharing some of the highlight clips on the blog itself in five minute segments.

So don’t miss out. Make to subscribe by email in order to receive invitations to the free events, as well as a timely reminder an hour before they go live.

In the meantime, be sure to hear what Dr. Ed Stetzer has to say about the missional church. After you’re done, let me know how you engage the concept of living missionally.

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T E Hanna is the author of Raising Ephesus: Christian Hope for a Post-Christian Age and has published articles across the web on issues of faith and culture.

  • http://www.achristiansmusings.wordpress.com Sean Smiddy

    Yep, agree. :)
    One thing that I think needs more emphasis is that “we the church” are supposed to stand “in the brokenness” of the “broken” world. But let me be very quick to say that I do NOT find it at all correct to “assume” that ALL of “the world” is broken, because that varies so widely with the population. It also seems that such an assumption would be more than a little judgmental, and that definitely is something that “the world” abhors about Christianity or any other religion that makes such assumptions, and they therefore become quite unwilling to hear anything else that we have to say just as soon as we pass judgment on them.
    I’m just saying that we need to be VERY careful about making an assumption regarding anyone’s salvation. Just because someone does not belong to our church or especially to our denomination, it is definitely not safe to assume that they “need Jesus” or “need to be saved!” Perhaps they already know Jesus…and further, perhaps they ARE already “saved.”
    I’m simply saying that I, in my, let’s say, past 38 years (since age 6.5), have personally witnessed churches that think their way is the only way, and if someone does not believe just as they do, then they are going to burn in Hell fire.
    THAT sort of judgment just really, really gets under my skin. For example, my own mother, in the past, has sometimes made the statement to me that, “You need to get ‘in the Word’,” assuming that I needed to study my Bible more/better in order to be on par with HER “understanding” of the theological points of her own Church organization. Well, let me just say that, I know the Bible as well or better than the average Christian (sadly — because i am NOT a Bible Scholar or Theologian), and that although MY interpretation of that Bible may be a little different than her’s, that certainly does not mean that I am wrong, or “out of the fold.” This was typical in the thought process of the (Pentecostal) churches in which I grew up.
    Suffice it to say, I am not of the Pentecostal faith. I attend (try to as much as I am able — I’m disabled & sometimes my own issues interfere) a United Methodist Church. I am very well versed in their doctrinal standards and beliefs, and agree with those almost 100%. However, in the UMC, there is what is called a “Book of Resolutions,” that states the larger organizational group’s stances on different things that are not necessarily church related. It is, as best as I am able to understand, the Denomination’s political stances about myriad issues that I won’t get into here. I definitely DISAGREE with a good number of things in “The Book of Resolutions.”
    You may ask then, “Why do you belong to the denomination if you don’t agree with them 100%?”
    The answer is simple: I agree with their doctrinal standards more so than any other denomination, and by being a member, I do not necessarily have to agree with “The Book of Resolutions.” It is what it is, that being a man-made book of statements, NOT the Bible or an attempt to directly translate or force application of those resolutions onto me, a member.
    Further, MY doctrine begins at Genesis 1:1, and ends upon the completion of the last verse of Revelation. I am secure in my knowledge, interpretation, and application of that doctrine in my own personal world. However, in order to belong to and help with the larger “Missional” aspects given us by God himself, I feel it important to be connected with other Christians.
    We will ALL at some point disagree about something. I accept that. I choose to belong to and support the UMC, but I have no problem with those who are of a different denomination, even though some of those different denominations may perhaps have a problem with mine.

    The actual church I attend is small, and probably 60% or more of the members are over 55 years old. There are a decent number of kids for a small congregation, and they are very participative and wonderful little people. We further realize that they are the future of THE church universal. So they are tended to very, very well. The other members are tended to by the pastor very well also, but I don’t feel like “we” (the congregation), are there to be tended to. We are there to support, worship, teach, learn, and to effectively execute missional work, which takes me immediately back to the point of this entire thread.

    It is absolutely GOD’S mission that has a church! We Christians are here to spread the good news of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for the World Around Us in the sense that it is defined as, “Those who do not know Jesus,” not “The World” that includes everyone who is not inside the walls of our church every time the doors are open.

    Being missional requires discernment on our part as to what God would have us do. HE is the leader of our churches. HE is the one who gave us Jesus and the Holy Spirt and through Him, his Son Jesus “sent us forth.”

    All I am saying is, in summation:
    I agree whole heartedly with the theme of this video presentation.
    I agree that we are to be about our Father’s work.
    I do NOT believe that anyone who does not attend MY church, or MY denomination, or who does not worship like me is “The World that needs Saved.”

    kk, well, that was a LOT more than I intended to write. Sorry for being so long winded, but I wanted to be as clear as possible in this because the missional work of the church is extremely important to me and to every other human on this planet, not just those who don’t attend my church…

    kk, OUT
    Peace & Blessings to ALL!

    • http://tehanna.com T E Hanna

      For what it’s worth, Sean, I’m a UMC pastor, and I don’t agree with all our stances on social issues either. That is one of the things I love about the Methodist church: they allow for theological and social diversity as part of a healthy community of faith.

  • Mark Kennedy

    I love this concept (mission to church instead of the other way round). Bevans and Schroeder (Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today, 2004) do a tremendous job of extruding the significance and implications.

  • http:[email protected] Jon Stallings

    Great topic T.E. Just last night at church we started going the Compelled: Living the Mission of God by Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation.

    One of the first points we discussed is we need to have a mindset of a Missionary in our current community. As a Pastor I am helping walk our church through a culture shift where the members see themselves as a Missionary in their own neighborhoods. As a church we are also going through a process to focus our corporate outreach that leads more to ongoing relationship building as opposed to a “single event”

    I look forward to your future posts.

    • http://tehanna.com T E Hanna

      That’s great Jon! I’d love to hear more about how you are working towards those goals. How funny that you started Ed Stetzer’s study on Mission yesterday and today we have a video from Ed Stetzer on what it means to be missional. Love it.