Alan Hirsch has written an article for Leadership Journal on what it means to be missional (you find it here). The term missional risks facing the same fate as the term emerging church, as it has become the latest buzz word. Who doesn’t want to be missional these days, or as Alan asks: “Can you think of a single pastor who is proudly anti-missional?” I haven’t met anyone so far myself, but maybe I haven’t asked enough pastors. Or I hang around the wrong circles, I don’t know. I agree with Alan on almost all accounts, but I must say that the relationship between missional and emerging church is closer than he would say. In my opinion missional is one of the streams that has affected the whole conversation in profound ways. But missional church and emerging church isn’t the same thing, that I agree with. Here’s some quotes from the article:

A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a “sent one” who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei—the sending of God—is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because we are the “sent” people of God, the church is the instrument of God’s mission in the world. As things stand, many people see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church; a means by which the church is grown. Although we frequently say “the church has a mission,” according to missional theology a more correct statement would be “the mission has a church.”

Missional represents a significant shift in the way we think about the church. As the people of a missionary God, we ought to engage the world the same way he does—by going out rather than just reaching out. To obstruct this movement is to block God’s purposes in and through his people. When the church is in mission, it is the true church.


Leadership Journal has also produced a sort of family tree of the missional church. Not sure how correct it is, but in any events it may serve as a good reading list if you want to catch up with all things missional.





HT : The Forgotten Ways