The Missional Church

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Romans 10:15

We hear a lot about the “missional church” these days. New missional churches are springing up while established churches are now proclaiming a renewed missional consciousness. Is this just some trendy new label, the latest thing for churches? Or is there something substantial in the missional designation? What does it mean to be a missional church? How might we live our lives as “missional” people?

Tomorrow I’ll comment on how you and I can be missional people in our individual lives. Today I want to say a word about the missional church. The word “missional” comes from a Latin root that means “to be sent.” A missional church acknowledges that it has been sent by God in a certain time and to a certain place to represent him and do his work. Central to this work, as Romans 10:15 reminds us, is proclaiming the good news of what God has done through Jesus Christ. Yet proclamation alone is hollow. A truly missional church both proclaims and lives this good news: loving neighbors, healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted, feeding the poor, and doing justice for the oppressed.

Scripture teaches us that every church should be a missional church. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for Christian communities to get wrapped up in their own needs and desires, forgetting that they have been sent by God to reach their neighbors. Yet when a church lives out its missional calling, we can echo the scripture in saying, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Does your church see itself as sent by God to do his kingdom work in your community? Do you think of your church in this way? How might churches become less self-absorbed and more committed to reach their neighbors with the gospel?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I want to pray for your church, and for each individual church, and, indeed, for my church, that we would be truly missional. To be sure the label doesn’t really matter. We can call ourselves missional without really reaching out to our neighbors. And we can genuinely live and speak the gospel without using the word “missional.” But the truth is that you have sent us, Lord, to do your work right where we are. We have been sent on a mission by you. In a very real sense, we are to be “missionaries” in our communities.

Help your church, dear Lord, to be less concerned about ourselves and more committed to reaching out to our neighbors. May we boldly and kindly bear witness to you, and may our lives reflect the truth of the gospel. Amen.

P.S. from Mark

If you’d like to learn more about what this notion of the missional church is all about, you may want to check out my online series: The Mission of God and the Missional Church.