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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

missional: what's in a word?...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Brother Maynard has posted three very helpful and pretty 'comprehensive' (read as 'long & meaty'!) articles this week, attempting to define the latest church buzz-word (one that I quite like) missional, 'here', 'here' and 'here'. Although his longer bullet point definition in his latest post is helpful, I particularly appreciated his short-list of two essential characteristics of missional churches...
  1. The church is organized around its mission, the Missio Dei. Brother Maynard writes, "In the UK, the term 'mission-shaped church' became popular, and this is the central concept here. The church exists for the benefit of the world, and has a purpose in the world for the glory of God."
  2. The church’s ministry is incarnational, not attractional. He continues, "There is a greater concern for getting the people of the church out among the people of the world than there is to get the people of the world in among the people of the church. A missional church is a centered set and not a bounded set, and there is much less concern (sometimes none) for getting people to “join” a local church."
I think these are helpful key principles as they 'include' (perhaps another essential concept of missional churches) an array of theological and ecclesiological nuances. It is certainly not the case that only evangelical or emerging or catholic or liberal (take your pick) churches can be truly missional. A missional church is one that is shaped by its involvement in the missio dei, and is truly sending, seeking to be incarnationally present amongst those in its 'mission field'. It seems to me that this pretty well encapsulates the focus of both Jesus and the apostle Paul!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:28 AM

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