A Quick Word on the Term ‘Missional’

When talking about Church lately, it has been popular to use the phrase “missional church”, and with that, there are probably thousands of meanings. Many people see a hipster church, with indie rock worship, a funny, cool looking, gospel-centered preacher, and then give that church the title, “missional”. Kineo has been labeled ‘missional’ because of that, but of course not because of the cool looking, gospel-centered preacher. This labeling of churches in this regard is terribly misguided.

At best, the word missional describes not a ‘specific activity’ of the Church, nor the style of apparel of it’s leaders wear, the trendy modern ambiance, or the type of music that is played by the worship band, but it describes ‘the very essence and identity’ of the church as it participates in God’s mission.

‘Mission’ (John 20:21) reminds us that the Church was created to be oriented to the world, existing for the sake of others. Cross-cultural missionaries of the past few centuries were sent with a task that was primarily not for themselves but for the sake of those to whom they were sent. Thus to describe the Church as ‘missional’ is to define the entire Christian community as a ‘BODY’ sent into the world, existing not for itself but to bring good news to the world. This is our identity.

THE BODY: In the book of Ephesians, the word body is sṓma in Gk which means: an organized whole, or a collective mass, made up of different and diverse parts and members, each having separate roles and functions to make the whole. In other words, the whole body of Christians collectively, of which Christ is the head. This word shows up all over Ephesians; (Eph. 1: 22-23; 2:15-16; 3:6; 4:4, 11-12, 16, 25; 5:23, 30) (see also Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:13, 27; Col. 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15).

There is a very striking illustration in 1 Corinthians 6:15 regarding the body of Christ (the Church), where Paul says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” If you are a disciple of Christ, then you are a ‘member’, joined as a part of the body of Christ, and the parts of your body are parts of Christ’s body.

We’re not Christians, we’re ‘family members’ joined by & with Christ, with a mission to make His beauty and worth known over every other earthly treasure.

Jesus Christ has a body here on earth. It is called the Church. She has legs to go to the places that Jesus would go. She has arms to do the work that Jesus would do. She has mouths to say the things that Jesus would say. She has backs to carry the burdens that Jesus would carry.

Paul said that his aim in life was that “the life of Jesus might be made known to others in his mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). In other words, his aim is that “his body might make Christ’s body real to the world.”

So let’s be missional in the biblical way…as ambassadors of Christ, as though God were pleading through our bodies and lives. We all belong to one another, and mission happens better when we live like that (John 13:34-35). Defining missional based on Christ being displayed will endure the test of time much longer than being missional based on our trends being displayed.

 

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