Ed Stetzer, director of research and missiologist for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, has written an informative article in the latest On Mission. "Is your church missional?" (scroll down page for the article) is a short but helpful introduction to the concept of being missional. Stetzer begins:
Still trying to decide whether your church is "traditional" or "contemporary"--and which is better? That's the wrong question. The real issue is whether your church is a biblically faithful church able to relate to the culture around you. In short, what matters is if your church is missional.
The M word has been around for a while, but has only recently become more accepted. That's good. It means that churches are asking hard questions about biblical ministry in community. What kind of church will be the most biblical and faithful in their community? If we're going to reach a changing North America, we have to contend for the unchanging faith (Jude 3) using forms that are relevant to all kinds of people (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). That's a missional church--a church acting like a missionary to the community around it while partnering with others to be missional across North America and around the world.
Why all the fuss over a word? Can't a church do what it's been called to do for more than two millennia and not mess with semantics? It certainly can. But, the reason is not the word, it's the emphasis. Churches are discovering the need to be missional in their communities. So, the important question is, "What is a missional church?"
(HT: Joe Thorn)