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Should My Church Be Missional?

March 26, 2008

i believe every church has a calling. it has a purpose. it has a mission. i am not talking about the organization’s mission or purpose statement, necessarily. i am talking about the things that god has called that specific church to accomplish for the kingdom. i think there are some things that every church ought to be about. these certainly include, but are not necessarily limited to, preaching/teaching the gospel and discipling believers. but churches are to do more than just that. also, how to do that will look differently in different churches. i was in a church recently that sees their mission as reaching the next generation. they have had this mission long enough that they likely are reaching their second “next generation”. in reality, this church is constantly innovating to capture the hearts of young men and women with the gospel of jesus christ. some churches are missions-oriented churches. there is a church in toronto that is known for their support of and outreach through missions. churches i an urban setting have long reached out to meet the physical needs of their community. they often do this by feeding and clothing the poor or homeless, providing shelter, and some financial assistance.

but none of this answers the question: “should my church be missional?” if you use the more commonly demonstrated model of the missional church, i have to say “no”. this view makes the mission of the church too small. the local church is a body of believers that has a multi-faceted mission. we are reach out with physical help, but we are to reach out with the gospel. by the way, when christians say that we should meet physical needs so that we have the opportunity to meet spiritual needs, they are only partly right. we should do that. i love the concept of “giving people what they need (spiritual) in the context of what they want (physical)”. but that should not be our only motive for meeting physical needs or doing other good deeds. jesus said that we should let our light shine before all men so they may see our good works, and glorify our father in heaven. good works bring glory to god. that is reason enough to do good works. paul wrote in ephesians 2: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” as followers of jesus christ, our salvation is by god’s grace through faith. it is god’s gift to us. no amount of works is enough and any attempt to work for it is an insult to god. but also, as followers of jesus christ, we are called to do good works. god has prepared these good works beforehand. if i want my children to wear a particular clothing outfit on a particular day, i prepare them beforehand. this should make it almost natural to wear these clothes. in the same way, god has prepared good works for us to walk in.

to truly be a missional church, it must walk in both parts of ephesians 2. it must show the way to salvation by grace through faith and it must walk in the good works that god has prepared for it to do. if that is the definition of mission, then the answer is, “yes, my church should definitely be a missional church.

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