Friday, August 17, 2007

The Meaning of Missional -- How I Use the Term

On his new blog at LifeWay, Ed Stetzer has begun a much needed series on the “Meanings of Missional.” I look forward to his study on the history and usages of the word. In many ways, the current debate over the term “missional” is the new front on the old battle between “mission” and “missions.”[1] Of which of these words is “missional” the adjectival form? It appears that all depends on who is using the term.

For the sake of understanding this blog, however, here is how I presently use the term: The quality of being oriented toward or focused on God’s Kingdom mission. In my use, the term implies a strong priority on evangelism both to those around me and to the unreached peoples of the world. It involves intentionality in seeking ways to become increasingly involved as a “world Christian.” It constitutes a world and life view that focuses beyond oneself toward fully participating in God’s redemptive plan.

I will continue to think through this issue, as my explanation leaves much room for improvement. I will leave it to Dr. Stetzer to do the academic work here and to offer a precise, evangelical definition of the word (I am a little preoccupied with my dissertation:-). In the mean time, feel free to add your comments and suggestions to what I have offered here.

[1] For those not familiar with this distinction, here is the gist of it in its simplest form: Mission (singular) includes the entire program God has for His church. Missions (plural) refers to the specific task of taking the gospel to the world to bring persons to faith in Christ and establish churches. See, e.g., Olsen, What in the World is God Doing, p. 9-14.

No comments: