Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Missional ≠ Missions 2

For some, the concept of “Missional” is an idea that can be confusing. This is especially true for people in the context that has been traditionally termed “Missions,” as the term Missional was coined for believers and churches in a “national” context.

Churches have become so culturally different from the societies around them that they really need to apply cross-cultural methods to reach their own culture. They are to use the missionary and their approach as an example. In the same way that missionaries move to a new culture and adapt their whole lives in order to translate the message of the Gospel to that other context, believers in Western, secular culture need to translate their own understanding of the Gospel in a way that makes sense to the world around them. The Christian ghetto has developed its own culture so much that it is “foreign” to the prevailing culture where it lives.

So Missional lifestyle and Missional ministry is not the same as Missionary ministry. Missional is a reminder to all Christians (including missionaries) that they are to translate their faith and witness into a culturally meaningful message that applies to all aspects of life. The Missionary vocation, however, demands more of a person than simply being “paid Christians.”

A Christian carpenter does his carpentry and hopefully lives out his faith in all aspects of his life. As believers, missionaries should also live out our faith in every aspect, but as “Missionaries” their day job is communicate the message in such a way that it impacts the culture leading to change seen in the planting of churches. Sometimes people think that missionaries have been sent “over there” to just be Christians without having to work for a living. That would be a wonderful life of luxury, but it is not the case. They have a job to do in addition to all the demands that being a follower of Christ requires. They are no different than the above mentioned carpenter; they simply “build” community rather than tables.

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