Saturday, December 18, 2004


I got thinking about this a bit from a statement that Tony Jones made saying that the emerging church will be missional. He talks about this in the context of church polity and government. His main thrust is that the emerging church must have a thin organizational chart in order to have thick relevance. Think Carl George.

I wonder if the emerging church will be missional or if the missional church will emerge. It's a little chicken and egg. It's also possibly limited. But it may be a way to know who is truly emergent and who is masked evangelicalism.

That is, I think one can test the emergence of any particular church/movement to see why it is emerging. Some possibilities may include: marketing, prosytltism, booming population, and missional posture.

Many churches will emerge. I think what needs to be said is that those which are emergent are missional in their reason for emerging.

I see missional as meaning relevantly engaging the world/culture and giving redemptive life away.

So, is a commercial ministry missional?
Is a Christian t-shirt missional?
Is James missional?
Are you missional?

If you aren't you die. Simple as that. You might look really alive. Really really alive.

But you and your religion are dead.


Anonymous said...

Missional, oh my goodness...that sounds HUGE!! I'm just a little person trying to live my life for Christ, trying not to deny him, trying to honor him with my words and deeds and trying to give him the glory (with my mouth) in a world that hates him. But missional? I feel too cowardly to take credit for that. At times I am a real mouse.

Ian said...

I'm not sure of the difference of Missional and Evangelical. Can you clarify?

James said...

I think a good definition is that a church that is missional is engaged in following the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ (Hebraic Discipleship) for the sake of the whole world. For themselves, but also for unthemselves. It is where missions isn't something we do, but who we are. Faith isn't something we do/have/practice/wear, but is who we are. A group that is missional is wrapped up in that definition and does nothing outside of it. Instead of saying, "I go to South Albany church", a missional person says, "I am a part of South Albany Church, and it is a part of me." If a missional church was a car it wouldn't have A/C, b/c that would mean rolling up the windows and then there would be no connection to the world.

Evangelicalism (referring to the movement,not my denomination) is a movement of within Christianity that is widespread in the western world. At the core, in a simplistic (at the risk of being patronistic) way, evangelicalism is based on a view of Christ that centers around salvation (While missional focuses on discipling for others). Evangelicalism comes from protestantism, the reformation and John Wesley. It is salvation oriented, to the point that the WAY is reduced to a decision or a series of decisions (think, "I have follow Jesus...).

I am obviously biased towards being missional. I think there's a whole lot more to life than silly salvation.

But, some people think I am outside of the mainstream of Christianity.


Anonymous said...

I LIKE that definition of missional vs evangelical. I agree, we focus on salvation, not discipleship. Even in my life, I praise God for my salvation, but not too often for HIS "discipline". Yet salvation without discipleship still can leave us largely useless and miserable. At least for me. I WANT a missional perspective, even toward the unsaved. I want to desire the Lord's discipline, the fellowship and discipleship of others. I want to be used to disciple every single person i come across, saved or unsaved, lovely or unlovely, dork or undork...LORD MAKE ME YOUR HANDS AND FEET!!!! I feel so pitifully inadequate, but i won't give up.