The word missional has become a popular slogan for many of our churches and denominations today. This missional movement has swept through and crossed all denominational lines. With this mass popularity has come much confusion and complexity as to what this word really means and what it means to serve in a missional community. Missional simply means to be on mission. It embraces the understanding that just as Jesus Christ was sent into the world that he also sends us out into the world (John 20:21). So, to belong to a missional community means that everyone is outreach-focused with the chief motivation of our lives being the fulfillment of the great commission (Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 1:8). Every member of the missional community gets on the playing field participating in the expansion of gospel ministry all over the globe. As John Piper says, there are really only three types of people in the church when it comes to missions, "Those that are sent, those that send, and those that are disobedient."
The Antioch Church certainly was a missional community. Their focus was on fulfilling the great commission not just on building their own congregation. Consider the fact that Paul and Barnabas are the traveling evangelists who came there to build up the congregation. They were like the consultants and the experts in their midst. It was a great blessing to the church to have them present for a full year to teach and disciple them. Instead of holding tight to Paul and Barnabas they sent them out to carry out the great commission which was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 13:1-3)
To be this type of community will often require sacrifice. It means we may have to sacrifice our best generals or even those large givers! This is what it takes to build the Lord's Kingdom. It means we will have to, at times, sacrifice our kingdom. Brian Bloye experienced this at his church. He is a church planter and had successfully planted a nice mid-sized church. In the church planting world he was already extremely successful and he could have easily maintained at that level leading a very comfortable lifestyle. He knew more was required though. So, he took a core team from his existing church and sent them out to plant another church. Within this group existed the most volunteers and the largest financial contributors to the ministry. Yet he still sent them out and what has taken place since then is really remarkable. Now, his ministry is flourishing as the culture in this community is one that embraces the missional lifestyle. Let's be people that go out on mission to impact lives for the glory of God!
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.