What is a Missional Church?

Five to ten years ago we were all talking about this “Emergent” movement.  That got such a nasty name that people ran as fast as they could from it.  But pastors and planters recognized that they had to do something different than “church as normal” if they were going to really reach the world.  So they started calling the new style “Emerging” because they hadn’t decided what the new church was going to look like.

This Emerging name was still too close to Emergent and scared people away.  Along came “Missional.”  The Missional movement is still relatively young, but it’s gaining a foothold in the church “market.”  Most Missional churches are Evangelical churches in that their focus is introducing Christ to those who don’t know Him.  The difference is in the mindset and the action taken as to how they introduce Christ.

The American church has become rather comfortable and relaxed.  Church roughing it, anymore, is when you have to settle for a doughnut and regular coffee instead of a late’ and muffin.  Or better yet, there are still pews and not chairs.  The focus of the American church, in large but not in whole, has been in numbers.  Everybody wants to have a “mega church.”  With this in mind, they take out loans and have to focus on needing money to pay the staff and pay for the loans, so they try vary hard to keep their congregation and the tithing.  I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve heard pastors say from the pew “Invite your friends!  They need to know Christ too, so bring them here and we’ll get them saved!”

There is the difference.  The modern American church is all about “bring them here” while the Missional movement is all about “go to them.”  Missional churches recognize that we all should live as missionaries.  It’s not the pastor’s job to be the only one sharing the Gospel, it’s everyone’s job.  The Missional movement is a movement trying to get back to a more biblical style church.  Don’t get me wrong here, a church that is sharing the Gospel, helping people be saved, baptizing, and celebrating communion is a good church. I’m not bashing the American church here.  I’m simply explaining that there is a movement in America that is taking a different path.

Come or go, that is the difference.  Most Missional churches that I’ve seen have a more theologically in-depth teaching.  This is likely because the pastor isn’t the only one sharing the Gospel.  The focus in the teaching is more biblical education, and less “how to improve your marriage in six weeks.”  Both are good, and both have their place.  I respect both types of churches and both types of pastors.  We are all called to reach to the lost.  But we are all called, and are around, different people.  And different people will be reached in different ways.  Pray over which way is best for you and the people around you.  I encourage you to step out in faith and start talking with people about Jesus in your day to day life.


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