A friend in the Texas District, LCMS, Dr. Lou Jander, recently posted a Missional Q & A that is worth sharing. It is printed below. Check out his Missional Voyage blog for other good posts.
Q. What is the difference between a missional church and a church with a mission program?
A. A church with a mission program usually sees mission as one activity alongside many activities of the church – Christian education, worship, acts of service, hospitality and other programs. A missional church focuses all of its activities around its participation in God’s mission in the world. That means, it trains people for discipleship and witness; it worships and practices mutual support before the watching world. A church with a mission sends others to witness on its behalf. A missional church understands that the congregation itself is sent by God to proclaim and to be a sign of the reign of God. Just as God sent Jesus, now Jesus sends the church (Jn..20:21).
Q. Is “missional” a real word?
A. Yes. It may not be in every dictionary. But the Oxford English Dictionary says the word has been around for almost 100 years. Missional is an adjective that describes the way in which we do all of our activities, rather than identifying any one particular activity. Within the last few years, it has come into more common use. To be missional is to align all of the program, function and activities of the church around the mission of God in the world.
Q. Does being a missional church mean starting a lot of new activities? People in our congregation are already so busy.
A. A missional church does not necessarily do more outreach activities. In fact, a missional church may do fewer things better. To be a missional church means to discern how this particular congregation’s calling is aligned with God’s mission in the world. To be a missional church means to orient all of the life of the church around God’s mission.