Visit any seminary and a good number of the texts, teachings and buzzwords center around the concept of the church shifting to a more Missional Approach. While I agree with this shift, I think the concept has been hijacked and misappropriated quite a bit.
With that said, here is a basic introductory primer to the Missional Shift. A Missional Guide for Morons if you will. I'll start with three things it ISN'T. Then move to three things it IS. And then give three examples.
THREE THINGS MISSIONAL CHURCH ISN'T
1. It isn't a new program.
This might be the hardest part to grasp. Missional Church shouldn't be adding much to your schedule. It's doing the things you do...Missionally. Coach your kids soccer team? Then how can you facilitate the love of the gospel to the kids and parents of your team (and the other team for that matter!) You love running? Then find an unchurched friend who loves running to run with you. Having dinner tonight? Can you invite a neighbor? Going on a date? Why not double date? Watching the big game? Why not connect with someone who is as excited about it as you who doesn't do Jesus or the Church. If you can't come up with a list of connections you know who are unchurched, you are failing as a Christ follower. Can you point to every house on your street and say you've connected relationally? Can you tell the story of each person on your dorm floor? Do you know anything about your coworkers besides that they are good or not-so-good workers?
2. It isn't about Dimes, Domes and Dunks.
The measures for how we determine success in Church World are ineffective, particularly in the Missional Church model. How much people give, how many butts are in the seats and how many baptisms you've had that year are not indicative of success. The reason churches have defaulted to these three metrics is because they are some of the easiest measurements we have access to. Unfortunately sometimes success means the crowds leave. Sometimes the butts in the seats just mean you're polished. Interesting to think about the National Republican and Democratic Conventions the past few weeks. They measured the Turn Out, the amount of money raised, and the polls that suggest independents might be converted or swayed to their side. As shocking as this might be to some...the political arena is not the church and utilizing similar metrics to determine success is terrifying to me.
3. It isn't small groups.
I like small groups. But I like Missional Communities more. Small groups generally are 10-15 people. Missional Communities are 20-40 people. Small Groups tend to be primarily internally focused, created for the people who are there. Missional Communities are primarily externally focused, created for the people who aren't there yet. Small groups focus on study for information and personal transformation. Missional Communities focus on being changed (by God and the community) and being change (to the neighborhood and spheres of influence you are called to). Small groups lose momentum if 5 people aren't there. Missional Communities don't lose momentum (but they still notice)
I will post the Three Things Missional Church IS tomorrow!