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becoming a missional church

November 10, 2008

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking a lately about what makes a church missional.  Things I’ve concluded it’s not…

– Talk.  Missional churches don’t talk about mission more than non-missional churches, in my experience.  A lot of non-missional church’s walls are plastered with posters about mission projects and are pimping the next mission trip every week.

– Money.  There are churches that give more of their budget than The Bridge to mission agencies like NAMB and the the IMB through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program… but aren’t seeing people give their lives to Jesus in their own communities.

– Staff positions.  It’s a big trend right now for churches to hire Evangelism Directors to lead evangelism events and programs in their communities.  These churches are often just as inwardly-focused as anyone else in my experience.

– Evangelism Training.  I’ve done this and seen it done elsewhere.  I’m beginning to wonder if this has the opposite effect, creating the mentality that you need training in order to share the gospel.  In The Bible, you need salvation by Jesus and a mouth.

On the other hand, things I’m beginning to think it is…

– Sending vs. Getting.  It seems like non-missional churches are focused on getting more people.  Missional churches seem to be focused on sending more people.

– Focus.  I’ve been around some churches that seemed to have an electric air and a lot of excitement, but weren’t missional.  Looking back I notice that most of the excitement surrounded their focus on “us”.  I heard a lot of “this is such a special church” and “there’s such a sense of community here”, but not much focus outwardly.  It seems like churches can be excited by focusing inwardly or outwardly.  Missional churches are excited by focusing on what’s going on “outside the walls”.

– Leadership.  Instead of hiring Evangelism Directors, missional churches seem to approach every staff position as an Evangelism Director.  They’re not hiring people to lead missional programs; they’re hiring people that will model being missional people.

– Gospel-centeredness.  This one has me thinking more than anything else.  I listen to a lot of podcasts from leaders of missional churches.  Everything is about the gospel and Jesus is the hero of every sermon.  If they’re preaching Matthew, Revelation, Proverbs, or Numbers, it’s about the gospel and about Jesus.  It’s not “10 Steps to a healthy friendship”.  It’s “This is how the gospel of the atoning death of Jesus will change your relationships.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2008 10:17 am

    GREAT BLOG, Josh. You’re so very right about the last three points for sure. Thanks for leading those of us who are The Bridge to be missional every day.

  2. Julie Howerton permalink
    November 11, 2008 2:18 pm

    Great insight Josh. What I do need help with and I think others do also is how to naturally transition everyday conversations into spiritual ones.

  3. November 11, 2008 5:01 pm

    Julie hit on something that I think a lot of us struggle with (well, I do!), transitioning everyday conversations into spiritual ones. As we learn as a church to apply the gospel to every aspect of our lives, maybe this will be easier. I think that last point is key, and it really makes sense to not just pursue practical, personal growth, but to pursue and understand the transforming grace of Christ as we experience daily trials.

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