The term “missional” shows up in lots of conversations among church leaders these days. Clearly we are trying to gain a renewed focus on what we are to be and do as the church in the 21st century. In fact, our 2012 National Conference on Preaching will use the theme “Preaching on Mission” as we explore the relationship of preachingto the mission of the church.
Ed Stetzer thinks and writes much pnthis topic, and his blog post today considers three aspects of the term. Here is a portion of his comments:
“To most people, missional is the adjectival use of the word mission. Unfortunately, that is where the simplicity ends. Missional has become a true wiki-word. Practitioners, theoreticians, and foes are defining, defending, and dissecting it and its blurred meaning has brought some to the point that they don’t want to use it anymore.
“I think the term missional has legs. In other words, it is not the church “word of the day” like “winning souls” was in the 1950-60s or “church growth” was in the 1970-80s or “emerging” was in the 2000s. I believe it is here to stay. But if we are going to use a word to define a significant movement within evangelicalism, we must address the serious theological concerns, challenges, and opportunities that the term gives us.
“So how do we define it? First, you cannot understand the term missional without deciphering the defining missiological debate of the 20th century: the relationship between “church and mission.” And if you look closely, many of today’s leading voices in the missional conversation derive their ideas from where this discussion that took place: the 20th century conciliar missions movement. The best way to get to contemporary usage on what the word should mean is by looking at how the conversation on “church and mission” has served as a catalyst for, what I believe, are three “dimensions” of missional: missionary, mission, and the missio Dei.” (To read the full post go to http://www.edstetzer.com/2011/10/seeing-missional-in-3d.html)