Is Missional the New ‘Purpose Driven’?

The new issue of Leadership Journal is about to be published and Tim Conder has a probing column  that should be required reading for church leaders and members who have identified their communities as Missional. His assertion that numerous churches that once identified themselves as cell churches, purpose-driven, seeker style, etc. have now self-identified as Missional churches is valid but I think that it can be expanded a bit. These buzzword bodies tend to support their identification with programs or organizational structures; a Missional church is guided by a philosophy. That philosophy is defined by returning to mission as seen in the first century church, to be reproducing communities of disciples.

Many churches are driven by what goes on within their walls. There are programs and activities for the personal enrichment of those inside the battlements with only occasional forays into the world. The Missional church reverses this design and it equips and sends its members out into the world so as to restore the order of the world as God ordained it. In other words, one cannot simply slap the label Missional on top of their member-care programs and have it be so, it is something that has to be believed and lived from the core of one’s being.

All for (the) One

The church at Corinth was reminded that the worship celebration was not just a forum for the Elder or Pastor to hold court, but it was to be a time in which all in the community were to bring their gifts to share for the benefit of all members. The writer says “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” (1 Cor 14:26) Offering people community in which their gifts are recognized, valued, and utilized is a far more authentic incarnation of ‘The Church’ than inviting them to a performance in which there is an orchestra pit between the performers and the audience.

How does the Pastor of this community then view their role as the Equipper?