Word definitions are curious animals, especially when a new word or word phrase makes a debut. The American evangelical world has been inundated with fun new phraseology lately. Who are the New Calvinists, and do I want to be one? Are the emergents or the emerging the real heretics? Where is the Elephant room?
No one seems to notice the irony of preaching self-sacrificing discipleship in a multi-million dollar building, with the best possible lighting and sound system money can buy. But I digress…
Missional is one of those words. I think I understand what it means, but to all you Millenials out there, let me tell you what it means to me. Ok, sorry, a bit of Gen-X angst coming out there.
Missional means that everything you do and say can and should be tied into the gospel. The message of the good news specifically needs to be proclaimed verbally, because faith comes by hearing. Jesus died for me, taking my sin, paying the price, and rose again. But all of life is to be lived with the ultimate purpose of advancing God’s subversive, glorious kingdom. The concept of some activities being “secular” disappears, because all of life is lived as a holy calling. We need to take off our shoes every day, because the ground on which we stand is holy.
God’s best gifts, like sports, music and art, have been largely hijacked by people and institutions who have separated the magic from the Magician, have taken the art from the Artist. Why not take it back? Why not fill our church buildings all the evenings it lies empty and dark with music lessons, karate classes, math tutoring and ping pong tournaments. Why not energize our communities by being the church, taking back a role with has always been rightfully ours.
We should be leaders in these areas, not followers. Christians are able to connect two worlds, and make all of God’s gifts make sense to a society that generally has relegated the church to the personal, the private and the boring.
My son said to me a couple of months ago that sometimes he gets bored at Sunday church. I told him that sometimes I do too. Good thing that’s not all the church is.
Let’s get missional!
Below, my guitar class, doing some last minute panicked practice before their performance at the closing program last night.