What Is A Missional Church?
Today, many churches describe themselves as “missional.” But what does that really mean? And how would these missional churches differ from, let’s say, non-missional churches? These are important questions to dig into.
“Missional” has become a catch phrase for a variety of strategies and approaches used by contemporary churches in the evangelical world. After one slices through all the noise, there is one thing that the majority of these faith communities hold in common. They all believe that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ is the primary focus of the church. In other words, loving the world enough to reach it is of the utmost importance. Missional churches share a "go" mandate, not a “come” mentality. You will discover that many of these missional churches are very active in serving their communities.
By contrast, over the last two decades many churches have adopted a different approach—the “attractional” model of ministry. At the risk of oversimplifying things, an attractional church is one that puts the emphasis on creating a safe atmosphere for people to explore the claims of Christ. They aspire to offer first class ministries in the areas of worship, preaching, children, youth and just about anything else that would attract people to attend.
This may sound great on the surface, but it has created some unexpected problems. Most of these churches have spawned a culture of religious consumerism. Many of their attenders contribute very little in the way of giving or serving. As a result, this has produced enormous stress fractures in the organizational structure of many of these churches. It necessitates that the few who do give and serve are pressed give and serve more. Behind the outward appearance of success and the boast of large numbers lurks a pastoral staff that is forced to spend most of its time serving the business of the church.
Missional churches, however, believe in sending believers into the harvest. They understand that true spiritual growth comes, not from being served, but in serving the needs of people who are far away from God. The missional church does not view Jesus as a showman, but as One who was focused on unleashing compassion and demonstrating what the love of God really looks like. Missional churches would rather sign you up to “go” than sit you down to be entertained.
Another focus of the missional church is on making disciple makers. They believe that lecture-based discipleship has produced a hole in the evangelical culture of modern Christianity. Missional churches understand that true discipleship focuses on building relationships, maintaining loving accountability and teaching obedience to Christ’s commands in a non-legalistic fashion.
One of the most neglected sections of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is the little phrase, “teaching them to obey all that I’ve commanded.” Jesus was pretty clear in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” A non-missional or attractional church is often uncomfortable laying out the terms of discipleship. Finding ways to get people to come to a service and keeping them there are the primary concerns. While this shouldn’t conflict with the goal of multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ, it often does, unfortunately.
The Movement Church of San Antonio aspires to be a missional church rather than an attractional one. If what you have seen and experienced has left you needing more, yes, even desiring more in your walk with Christ, we need to have a conversation. If you are tired of sitting, soaking and souring in a pew, then our church may be what your heart has been searching for all along.
How would you liked to be trained as a disciple maker? It’s an awesome way to change the world—one person at a time. In fact, this is the movement that Jesus started.
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