Monday, 17 May 2010

Missional church makes mission central to the church's identity

This continues my series on missional church.

As noted in my previous post, ‘mission’ has traditionally been focused on the ‘non-Christian’ world, and only ‘one of’ the functions of the local church.

In contrast, missional ecclesiology insists that any understanding of God’s assembled people – any ecclesiology – must be founded upon a deep conviction that that those assembled people are themselves, as an assembled people, sent by God to the world. Ed Stetzer asserts that in the Creed’s affirmation that the church is ‘apostolic’:

[…] apostolic is more than a “position”; it is a “posture”. […] [T]he root of the word apostle is “one sent… with a message. So we should be an apostolic church.

Ed Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006): 29, emphasis in original.

Harrison et al. capitalise on the connection between kaleo (‘call’) and ecclesia (lit. ‘called-out’; traditionally translated ‘church’), and also assume that the ‘called’ community – the church – should also be a calling community.

If […] the church is not winning souls […] the “called out” have become the “home-bound”, and the church has become little more than an inner circle or club where the original vision has been compromised. Members who leave this kind of church to start a new church plant should have little remorse for leaving.

Harrison, Cheyney & Overstreet, Spin-Off Churches (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2008): 103

Therefore, according to this view, a church which is not missional – which is not radically based on a sent-ness, a mission to the world – is not a true church.

No comments: