When Leanne and I were in Pennsylvania we saw that the word missional was being replaced by incarnational. I am not sure this is a one for one match but it does emphasize being Christ to the world around us. In any case, Leanne sent me the new Leadership Journal poll asking us what we think is the definition of missional. Go here to do it yourself.
My question is if the question is right. Here it is:
Which definition of missional best fits your understanding of the word?
· Attracting seekers to the church
· Engaging in social justice causes
· Being culturally relevant in style
· Sending believers to serve outside the church
· Planting new congregations
The overwhelming majority of folks chose “Sending believers to serve outside the church.” However I think that this does not really get the whole idea. It sounds like a summer missions project or a soup kitchen. My understanding of being a missional congregation is a complete change in church style, church culture and church philosophy. It is church “inside out.” This is the church completely involved in the life of the community at large living the life of Christ out before the community, telling them about Jesus and winning them to follow Jesus too.
It seems to me that all of the choices shown above allow for the congregation to remain an evangelical monastery separated from the world and isolated from the people who need the gospel. I am still working on this in my own heart and mind. But I know that I want something more radical because the New Testament expresses a very radical, loving transformation of both individuals and communities.
Here is the answer to the poll when I took it: