Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Missional

On the Christian Educators list there is a current conversation about churches becoming "missional." It is interesting that we humans have a habit of creating new buzz words. Not that creating new buzz words is wrong, they can be used effectively to motivate, market, and encapsulate broad ideas. The problem is that we then take those new buzz words and throw them around as though they represent something new. In some cases they do; in most they do not.

And so "missional." Missional seems to mean living where people live, hurting with people as they hurt, and inviting them to meet our God. The God that seeks to relieve, to console, to heal. That's a good meaning. Unfortunately, since many of us are human, we try and build a "missional" pattern, a one-size-fits-all-you-gotta-do-it-this-way straight jacket. We have to become Purpose Driven (whatever that is), or leave our denomination and start a multitude of community churches (whatever they are). We become enamored with being missional the right way.

And when we do, we have stopped being missional. Being missional is not about Sunday services of 20,000 people. It isn't about knowing the intricacies of the community, crowd, and core. It isn't about not being labled with a traditional name. It isn't about how we choose to dress, the songs we sing, or the nature of our sermons.

All of those are side shows.

Being missional is about loving God because a) God loves us, and b) we are called to be (as in exist) like God. Being missional is about loving folks that aren't lovable, about extending help to someone who won't appreciate it, about giving away our "stuff" so others might have some. And it isn't about patting ourselves on the back for doing those things.

No, being missional is leading, exampling, and maturing ourselves and others to be God people on this Earth. We become missional when we can do these things because we know they are right - or rather when we do these things because we can't do anything else.

Being missional is caring as God cares, about the things God cares about, about acting like God acts, about being God as Jesus was God.

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