For quite some time, the Missional Church movement has been extremely interesting to me. The focus of the Missional Church is on being the Sent Church, that the very purpose of the existence of the people of God is to announce and show signs of the inbreaking Reign of God. It’s not about what it looks like. It’s not about style of worship. It’s about how the inbreaking Kingdom is lived out and announced. In many ways, though I was unable to describe it, these were urgings that I experienced as I was recognizing a call to be a leader of Christ’s church.
There are really two primary sources for learning more about the Missional Church movement. First, there are missiologists and theologians, employed at seminaries, who have been calling the church to a more faithful witness. Leslie Newbigin is the grandfather of the Missional Church. Darrell Guder and George Hunsberger are some of the current leading missiologist. Secondly, there are practicioners of the Missional Church, those who have created communities that reflect the values of the Missional Church. The problem is that these communities are subversive, understated, and are not based on consumer values. The goal of growth looks like planting, planting, and planting rather than small, mid-size, and mega. Therefore, they are unknown beyond the community. Ever heard of Chris Seay? Yeah, he leads a growing tribe of new believing, postmodern, outward focused, artsy, everyday missionaries in Houston. Most of the church has no idea.
There are a few notable exceptions to this. Alan Hirsch is an Australian pastor. His work has been some of the more practical treatments for those who are interested. His book, The Forgotten Ways, has changed many people’s understandings of the who the church is to be.
One of the foundational issues in the missional church is how we are to engage the culture. Andy Crouch is one of the missiologists that I talked about earlier. I have added a video of him unpacking the church’s uncorfortable relationship with culture. I hope it’s as revelatory, affirming, and encouraging for you as it has been for me.