Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Missional – Do “missions-minded” and Missional go together?

One thing I think is a concern with churches who are moving in a missional direction is that some feel that a missional mind does not include a missions-mind.
This is not the case at all. A missions-minded church is one who has a heart and practice of supporting foreign missions. Missions-mindedness is necessary for a missional church. It is the outgrowth of the church taking the last part of Acts 1:8 to heart: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." A church must have a missions-mindedness towards taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. It’s what Christ commanded for us.

I am aware of a church considered one of the most missional in the country who sends 25% of their income to foreign missions and has one-half of the congregation of 2,000 go on short term mission trips each year. Twice a month the church sponsors short term trips. They even have pre-believers going on missions trips and being lead to the Lord while there.

Missions-minded is essential to missional.

So what’s the difference?

Missional takes the first part of Acts 1:8 and makes it a reality: “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,” this is the other part of missional, reaching your Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. If we ignore these then we are turning our back on the command of Jesus. It’s the same with foreign missions. They go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. The key becomes making them dance partners. A good dance occurs when both dancers are in balance, know their steps and roles and perform their own roles.

Matthew 28:19-20 says: “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” A better translation of the Go here is, “in your going, do!” As we go about our lives we are supposed to be carrying out the commission in our everyday life. A missional church will live out the mission of God in all aspects of its life. In it’s community and region and state and around the world.

The problem comes when we try to separate these things and only do one of them. We get out of balance and the dance begins to look awkward. The longer we stay out of balance the more accustomed we become to our dysfunction. This causes us to be incomplete in accomplishing God’s mission for His church.

A missional church views it’s town as it’s mission field, it’s county as it’s mission field, it’s state as it’s mission field, it’s country as it’s mission field and also the world as it’s mission field. All these in proper balance make up a missional church.

As you can see one can not be completely missional without being missions minded. The goal is to treat our communities with that very same missions mindedness and see ourselves as the missionaries. I believe that churches and the believers in them are called to have a heart for missions, to personally share the Gospel message, and to support those who take the message to others. Missional embraces all those things and more.

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brad brisco said...

In my mind I see being "mission minded" typically means having a "sending" mindset but being missional means "being sent."

Missional Jerry said...

I agree, but I think there must be a balance.

Those who give of themselves to "go" to the field - need to have sending behind them.

But we must all realize we are also sent.

Again Balance.

Anonymous said...

Jerry... GREAT post.

One thing that we are working towards in our church... is for those that want to go on a short term overseas missions trip, then they need to be already involved locally with our local Mercy Ministries and outreach to those in need in our community.

We want people to be living the life and reaching and responding here in our local context... so when they go overseas, they already have practice in doing ministry.


Webb Kline said...

I like Brad's definitions.

I am growing more and more convinced that global and local missions are tightly integrated with each other. You can't really successfully have one without the other. We are finding that it is our involvement with the youth of Ukraine that captures the interest of our local community and, just as with the one church Jerry mentioned, unchurched people are getting on board and becoming Christians through their involvement with the Ukraine mission. Tremendous idea. I'd like to take credit for it, but it has been something that God did in our group without us realizing what was happening. ;)

This is why I believe that the local church should mount its own overseas mission endeavors instead of merely supporting some mission agency with whom they have little connection aside from writing support checks.

A local church can adopt a group of people somewhere (small village, street kids, orphanages, etc), take turns going, while those back home work to raise money, volunteers, etc. As the vision develops and the needs become more apparent, it forces the church to reach outside of its own congregation for help and they soon discover that a lot of people in their communities see their efforts as exemplifying true faith, and suddenly they want to be a part of it.