Two Faces of Missional

The word "missional" has been a fad word in evangelical Christian circles for long enough that it doesn't mean anything any more. In fact, now that everyone is using the word "missional," everyone talkin' 'bout missional ain't going there.

Today, as best I can tell, you've got two different uses of the word "missional."

The word originated with churches who had a philosophy of ministry that centered on the sending of Christians into the world. Those churches aren't concerned with attracting a crowd so much as they are interested in sending people into the crowd. They want their people to live "on mission" throughout the week, hence the term "missional."

Now that the word has become a fad, another group is emerging. They've co-opted the word "missional" as well as some of the ideas of missional churches without buying the overall philosophy. They send their people to live "missional" lives with the intent of attracting people to their church.

Lots of churches in that second group are doing some good ministry. God is using them. But, I think they're missing a great opportunity.

The end goal of the missional life isn't someone being attracted to your specific church; it's someone being attracted to Jesus. And while Christ Himself is the great initiator in that process (John 6:44), He is gracious to us to use our lives in that process (2 Corinthians 5:11).

If you are more excited about attracting people to your church than you are about attracting others to Jesus, you've got either too high a view of your church or too low a view of Jesus.