Missional church—a gathering of Christians devoted to the mission of Christ in sharing the Good News of who Jesus is by going to where the people do life entering their context and engaging them on their turf instead of expecting them to attend a church meeting on a church campus.
Sounds appropriate right? What could be wrong with this approach to church?
I watched an interview with Steve Timmis, church planter, author, and missional thinker. You can watch the interview too by following this link—A Field Guide Conversation with Steve Timmis.
Steve Timmis fully advocattes the idea of a missional church.
However in the interview Steve Timmis comments that some reasons for “doing missional church” are not a good idea, in fact probably won’t work. I add two more reasons of my own.
- Another strategy for church growth. Many in church leadership are stuck on counting numbers as they constantly look for new strategies to grow their church. When this is the reason for using a “missional church” model it really is just another program added to the menu of many others—children, youth, men, women, and now carve out time to go do a good deed.
- Tired of traditional church. Some aren’t so much tired of church in the purest sense of the term, but they are tired of the traditional institutional variety. So, they turn to a more progressive kind of church. Trouble is that when “missional” has lost its luster, they are off to some other kind of church or none at all.
- Legalism. I wrote about this in the blog Is MissionalBecoming the New Legalism? What? You aren’t evangelizing, feeding the poor, and adopting every orphan? You need to step it up if you call yourself a committed Christian! Legalism tends to lead to a shame environment.
- Trying to begin a movement. The past couple of generations have spawned a bigger is better mentality that drives pastors to look for a movement to lead. A popular choice is a missional movement.
A Better Reason to Do Missional Church
I too believe that a missional church is most effective, if not necessary in today’s western culture. But the reasons should come out of a love and commitment to Jesus Christ. Engaging those who don’t know Christ on their turf, especially when we do so without any of the agendas above, communicates an authentic compassion for them.
I invite friends, co-workers, neighbors into doing life together. In doing so, if I am a true Christ follower, they will have opportunity after opportunity to hear about Jesus.
So what role does a missional church have in that kind of lifestyle? Discipleship. Prayer. Worship.
When our churches focus on discipling believers about His ways; when our churches make prayer a priority; when our churches worship Him…I mean with everything we are and have…He changes us. He moves us. He sends us.