Being missional may kill your church.
You may be thinking, “Seriously? I thought being missional was cool?” or “I thought being missional was going to grow my church?” Well, I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news is there is a healthy mission shift happening in the church. Missional is the new sexy. The shift that is taking place in the church is called by some the “Missional Church Shift.” Churches are becoming missionaries in their communities that do not focus on strategies and formulas that have worked among people who live in other areas. Instead they find strategies that help them connect with the people in their context.
In Breaking the Missional Code, Ed Stetzer explains how the church has shifted to missional thinking in the following way:
- From programs to processes
- From demographics to discernment
- From models to missions
- From attractional to incarnational
- From uniformity to diversity
- From professional to passionate
- From seating to sending
- From decisions to disciples
- From additional to exponential
- From monuments to movements
Before you get too stoked, not everyone is going to like this. Before you and your church become missional you may want to count the cost first.
Everyone wants to blog about being missional, but few people actually want to live on mission. Why? Being missional will cost you something. Look at Jesus in John 6. When Jesus told the people what it really meant to follow him, many of his followers bailed on him. And I have news for you; people will bail on you too.
What If It Means Killing Your Church?
Warning: Being missional may actually kill your church. Notice I said, “Your church.” Being missional will not kill Jesus’ church, but it just might kill your church. In many circumstances, this is exactly what needs to happen.
Too many of our churches are built on personalities, buildings, and programs instead of Jesus and his mission. We are addicted to our church subcultures, numbers, and personal agendas. If we are honest, we all want our churches to be successful. But what if being successful meant focusing on a few instead of the multitude? What if being successful meant losing a lot of our church crowd who don’t really want to follow Jesus or live on mission anyway?
Before you try to transition your church from programs to processes, from models to missions, from attractional to incarnational, from uniformity to diversity, from professional to passionate, from seating to sending, from decisions to disciples, and from monuments to movements, ask yourself—am I ready for a throwdown? But when the dust settles, you will see Jesus’ church emerges.
Advice For Becoming Missional
If this sounds like I am discouraging you from leading your church to live on mission, I am not. In fact, I challenge you to begin to lead your church on mission today. Go for it!
Here are a few ways to begin a missional shift in your local church:
- Take baby steps. Don’t blow your church up all at once. Your church will never be missional if you don’t have anyone left.
- Personally live and lead on mission. It all begins with you. As the pastor or lead church planter, you are the example that others will follow.
- Recognize the needs of your community and pray about how you can meet their needs.
- Begin to preach and teach on mission. Remember, baby steps.
- Just do it. Get people to leave the four walls of the church and get out into the community.