Monday, July 16, 2007

Some thoughts on "Missional"

As usual, I pick up on the trendy things a few years too late; I guess that comes from growing up as a fundy. While the rest of evangelicalism may view this term almost as dated as the term "postmodern" they both are still in my vocabulary.

I admit, it took me awhile to figure out exactly what was meant by "missional" and I'm not sure there is actually a concrete definition out there. But the gist that I've picked up on by it's usage (which of course is all that matters in my book - form vs. function again) is that it pertains to a church/individual who is on mission (duh). By that, it is often implied (and often explicit) that it is being on the mission of Jesus (or more likely the Triune God) and is often connected to the Kingdom. Teasing it out a little further, it's often used as those who are on mission and or missionaries to their culture, wherever they may find themselves. It typically has cultural engagement overtones and is used often in emerging church contexts (though of course the really cool emerging church types have probably abandoned it because it's too trendy these days).

For what it's worth, I like it. Some have argued that the term missional is not very missional itself (i.e. unbelievers don't know what you're talking about). True perhaps, but I think it's still a good term for inhouse discussion. Anyway, I like an adjective that can be used to sum up the idea of being on mission with Jesus that is Kingdom oriented in engaging the culture with the Gospel. It doesn't get much better than that (even if ascribing such a definition to a single word is culpable of being a raging linguistic fallacy capable of eclipsing TDNT).

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