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It’s a hot buzzword right now, but do we all have a common understanding?
Rather than offering a “correct” definition, I would appreciate you letting me know in the comments what you mean when you say “missional.”
I mean that I am openly Christian in all areas of my life, and I try to infuse my Christian beliefs/understandings in everything I do. Now that I clarify … maybe that’s more “incarnational.”
It’s always been a given for me that we as the church are supposed to be God’s representatives, so I never really understood that there is a shift from “attractional” to “being the church in the world.” Though I’m guessing that’s what more people mean by “missional.” You know, going to Starbucks a lot and learning the barista’s name.
Great question Owen – having read many of the “missional” books and participated in a whole bunch of meetings on this very topic, I’m more confused than ever. We keep getting the message that we have to go and be missional and yet no one can tell you what that really means. I do know one thing, the word “missional” is selling a lot of books and conferences so yes it must be the next new (old) thing in Christianity ; )
“Missional,” would stem from how God interacts with humanity. God sending himself into the world to save it, rather than beckoning. So I think the specific term missional refers to the posture we take with the world over all. It is our consciousness, not a model of doing service activites (like many would believe). I think you could spend lots of time meeting all new kinds of people and doing service projects and yet not be a missional person. Missional would see ourselves as constantly being sent out. It is enaging, but in a hoslitic sense, not through events and projects. Incarnational is a big piece of it too.
Missional is a word that is overused, and thus confused. The only reason I used it yesterday is that it came up in our staff discussions. If I was trying to be precise, I think I would avoid using the term. I believe what many people mean by it is a lifestyle of gospel intentinality. Instead of living passively it is actively seeking to live out God’s truth through service and proclaiming the Gospel. It is certianly a buzzword, and I believe that many using it are just trying to get Christians to do what Christians have always been called to do.