Rick Meigs over at Blind Beggar recently voiced his "continuing concern that the term missional has become over used and wrongly used." So to foster some discussion about what we all mean by "missional" he put out a call for a SynchroBlog on the topic for today. I'm pleased to be one of 50 bloggers taking a crack at it, and savoring the irony of 50 bloggers writing about a term we're concerned is being over used. But that's just me. ;)
For a change of prose, I'm going to let my Inner Modern sit this one out, along with some of my better judgement perhaps, and just start out with this:
Missional is like pornography. It's hard to define but you know it when you see it.
Here's what I've been seeing lately.
I heard one person trying to explain house church to another, saying it was not just another worship option, like going from traditional to contemporary to house church worship. "It's not an alternative worship service - it's an alternative lifestyle." That's missional.
I was thinking about the Lord's Prayer. The petition "Hallowed be thy name" always feels like it's still awaiting translation into English. I think it wants to be something like "I want you to be famous everywhere!" followed by "And I want everything to be just the way you want it!" Or maybe even this: "My Father - large and in charge, oh yeah!!" Either way, it strikes me - what does a life look like when those two things are at the very top of your prayer list? Missional.
Recently I gave myself the challenge of telling the Old Testament story in three minutes or less and produced this narrated slideshow. In it, I set the stage for Abraham by saying that at first everything was good, but then something went wrong and it all came apart. Then I summarized God's response to the crisis with these words; "I am going to fix this, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much it costs me." Now that's missional!
I've been helping the congregation I serve re-think "membership" along the following lines. Church membership is not like health club membership where you pay for privileges. Rather, it's like public radio where the programming is free but people join anyway because they believe in the mission and want to help keep it free for other people too. But better still, Church membership is like yet another organization people join voluntarily because they believe in the mission: the Army. Public radio listeners are still mostly passive receivers, but in the Army you are the one who does the work. That's why they send you right off to basic training - a great model for new church members, eh? That's missional.
So... string all that together and it comes out something like this: An alternative lifestyle where your top priorities are all about signing on to God's project to repair the World because you want to do that work. That's missional.
I hope there's something helpful to you there - that always feels like my little part of the mission. And I invite you to check out what the others have to say as well. The blogroll is included below.
Missional SynchroBlog Blogger List
Cobus Van Wyngaard