Making it Land

By Cam Roxburgh

One of the questions most often asked around the Missional Church conversation is “what does this look like when it lands?” I know what is being asked. When we stop talking and start doing, how will we know if we are being missional?

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I think there are four aspects the Missional Church that can give us a clear understanding of the practicalities: the definition, foundation, framework, and first steps. Today we’re going to unpack the first two.

Definition
For the past four years, we have been using a definition of Missional Church that goes like this: “It is a renewed theological vision of the church on mission, serving as a sign, servant and foretaste of the kingdom of God.”

What does that mean?

  • Firstly and simply, this is not new. We are just in need of being reminded again that God is King.
  • Secondly, it is about our missionary God and His mission. David Bosch reminds us that God’s mission has a church and not primarily that our church has a mission.
  • Thirdly, when we picture a future for the church, we need to view ourselves as witness bearers to the nature and action of our missionary God. We are privileged to serve as a sign (indicators), servant (help to reveal) and foretaste (a taste of what it is like) of the kingdom of God.

Foundation
When we talk about the missional church, we need to be clear on our definition, and also on our foundation. We have fallen into the trap of talking first about the church and how we make it grow. Instead, we need to be reminded that we begin with an understanding of who God is (theology), what He is doing in the world (missiology) and then who we are and what He is inviting us to do in our context (ecclesiology).This must be our foundation for this conversation

This mindset is not being negative about the church at all, as some who claim to be missional seem to be. Instead, it is a commitment to a high view of the people of God, made in the image of God, being formed into the image of the Son through the power of the Spirit, for the sake of the world: God’s mission.

Next week, we’ll look at what the Bible has to say about how we are to grow together, and think through how to move from just talking to really bearing constant witness to who God is.

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