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Missional Church and Leadership

Missional-Church

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The missional church (missional ecclesiology) 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.

Missional Church Bibliography

  1. Michael Welker, God the Spirit, 1st English-language ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994). []
  2. 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). []
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