At last week’s Acts29 Bootcamp, I taught a breakout on “Planting a Missional Church in the Suburbs.” Before I got into the specifics of suburban church planting, I highlighted some of the key basics of what it means to be a “missonal” church (which is a key value for us and distinctive for Acts29). Over the next few posts, I’ll explain those basics.
How do we live as a missional church?
First, develop the mindset of the church as a missionary force in culture.
The word “missional” is simply the adjective form of the noun “missionary.” By comparison, if somebody is being adversarial, you would know that this person is living like an adversary. If a person is being missional, they are living like a missionary.
A missionary is somebody who:
- relationally takes the unchanging gospel into a culture for the cause of Christ,
- understands people in that culture,
- learns the questions of that culture,
- understands the worldview of that culture, and
- begins a church in that culture that proclaims the unchanging truths of Scripture in the changing cultural context.
In the same way, a church that is “missional” views itself as a missionary to its culture, filled with ambassadors for Christ who take the gospel into every sphere of society.
How does this practically look? Tim Keller gives a helpful idea:
“A missional church avoids ever talking as if non-believing people are not present. If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present (not just scattered Christians), eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited.” (Tim Keller, “Missional Church”)