The Triune God has a mission (missio Dei) to restore and recreate all things according to God’s original and ongoing vision of peace and wholeness.
A Missional Purpose Statement
Missional Spiritual Formation leaders are called to cultivate dedicated disciples of Jesus who are equipped to discern God’s action in the world and empowered to participate in it.
A More Academic Definition
The missional imagination is an understanding that the Triune God has a mission (missio Dei) to restore and recreate all things according to God’s original and ongoing vision of peace and wholeness. The conversation in the West around missiology and ecclesiology has seen a dramatic shift in the past one hundred years. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were dominated by a Christendom model in which the church sent missionaries into the world to convert heathen nations to Christianity, thus colonizing the world into Western European culture and propagating oppression and marginalization of non-European people and cultures in the name of Jesus. A missional ecclesiology recognizes the Eurocentric and devastating effects the Christendom model of missions and ecclesiology has had on the world and strives to reimagine the nature of the church as missional at its core.
It recognizes the polycentric and pluriform nature of the Holy Spirit at work in the world.1 The church, within this perspective, is the congregation of those who are both gathered around the risen body of Jesus and sent into the world to find and proclaim the reign of God in and among all cultures as the church forms an interdependent relationship with all nations.2 This missional activity is not uni-directional, moving from one central place where God is located and correctly understood to another place where God is completely absent. Rather, it is a polycentric, pluriform, multi-directional movement of God at work in all cultures, in diverse ways, bringing all cultures into generative conversation, in order to bring about peace and unity through the particular incarnation of the risen Jesus of Nazareth and the various incarnations of the Spirit within diverse cultures.
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A Missional Church Reading List
- Elizabeth Johnson and The Strength of Her Witness | Notes from the Ministerium
- Book | The Mission Table: Renewing Congregation & Community by Stephen P. Bouman
- Book Review | The Agile Church: Spirit-Led Innovation in an Uncertain Age by Dwight Zscheile
- Book | The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin
- Book | Foolishness to the Greeks by Lesslie Newbigin
- Book | Christianity After Religion by Diana Butler Bass
- Book | Missional Map-Making by Alan Roxburgh
- Book | Testing the Spirits edited by Patrick Keifert
- Book | Critical Social Theory by Gary Simpson
- Book | The Witness of God by John G. Flett
- Article | Missio Dei – Understandings and Misunderstandings by Tormod Engelsviken
- Book | Faith as a Way of Life by Christian Scharen
- Book | Welcoming the Stranger by Patrick Keifert
- Book | Congregation and Community by Nancy Ammerman
- Book | We Are Here Now by Patrick Keifert
- Book | The Missional Church in Perspective by Van Gelder and Zscheile
- Book | To Understand God Truly by David Kelsey
- Book | Constants in Context by Bevans and Schroeder
- Book | The Church between Gospel and Culture edited by George R. Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder
- Book | The Ministry of the Missional Church by Craig Van Gelder
- Book | The Essence of the Church by Craig Van Gelder
- Book | Transforming Mission by David Bosch
- Book | The Open Secret by Lesslie Newbigin
- Michael Welker, God the Spirit, 1st English-language ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994). [↩]
- Key voices in the missional ecclesiology conversation are Craig Van Gelder and Dwight J. Zscheile, The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation, The Missional Network (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011); Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, ed. Darrell L. Guder (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1998); Alan J. Roxburgh, Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition, 1st ed., Leadership Network (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010); Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; WCC Publications 1989); David Jacobus Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, American Society of Missiology Series (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991); George R. Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder, The Church between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1996); Stephen B. Bevans and Roger Schroeder, Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today, American Society of Missiology Series ; No. 30 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004). [↩]