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. 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.  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.

A Visual Guide to the Missional Church

I created the Prezi below in 2013 to serve as a visual map to help me study for my comprehensive exams for my PhD at Luther Seminary. It covers some key books that shaped the missional conversation, a timeline of Christian Missiology, an extensive timeline of the international mission organization meetings, and all my class notes from Dr. Craig Van Gelder. Enjoy!

Missional Church Posts

Click below to reveal a list of all posts related to the Missional Church

Reveal Posts

  • Messy Life Together | A #Missional Sketch of Matthew 28:16-20
    Messy Life Together | A #Missional Sketch of Matthew 28:16-20
  • What is God Doing? | The Daily Prayer of a Missional Disciple
    What is God doing? That is the most important question that a disciple of Jesus can ask. How do we know what God is doing in a world that seems out of control?
  • Unity, Diversity, Interfaith Dialogue, and the Mission of the Church
    How can we find unity in a world that seems so divided with hatred and violence? That is an incredibly important question that has life and death implications. There are a few things converging this week, and today specifically, that address this question. First, our ninth grade students are currently in the process of visiting other ...
  • Nondual Thinking and the Missional Church
    Richard Rohr speaks a great deal about nondual thinking. His current series of daily meditations draws heavily on it. Read today’s post. Rohr says, The dualistic mind is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between ...
  • Visual Notes from the Missional Leadership D.Min. Course
    I had the opportunity to c0-teach a Missional Leadership course in the D.Min. program at Luther Seminary this week with Dr. Terri Elton. This was a wonderful group of church leaders thinking seriously about this topic. This post is for them. Here is the image in which we dwelt together. Here are the visual notes I took ...
  • Changing from the Bottom Up
    Richard Rohr has fascinated me for many years. I read his daily meditations almost every day. This morning I found myself drawn in to his Introduction to the 2017 Daily Meditations theme in this 8-minute video called “From the Bottom Up.” During the video he references his newest book The Divine Dance and quotes Thomas Kuhn ...
  • Rethinking the Great Commission
    https://youtu.be/VFq5TktIQf4
  • What’s the Big Deal about Church? | A Sermon on #missional church
    This is the fourth and final sermon in our series on Tough Questions. What is the Big Deal about Church? In an age when more and more people choose to disengage from organized religion and would rather be considered spiritual, but not religious, how should we think about the church? What is it, and why ...
  • Heaven and Earth
    Here is another good animation from The Bible Project that visualizes the Biblical theme of Heaven and Earth. I appreciate what these guys are doing and the emphasis they put on the merging of God’s space and our space into one, rather than the transference from our space to God’s space after we die. This ...
  • Another PhD Candidate Seeking Missional Spirituality
    I was very happy to discover a kindred spirit through the help of Twitter. Christopher B. James is a PhD Candidate at Boston University School of Theology in Practical Theology with a dual-concentration in Church & Society and Evangelism. He blogs about it at Jesus Dust.  He does great work and I hope to meet him in person ...
  • What is the Missional Church?
    Deep in the Burbs is a story about the church and the belief that the missional church–missional ecclesiology–offers hope for the church in the twenty-first century. A missional ecclesiology is an understanding that the mission of the Triune God ((I will discuss this in the Trinity Frame. see Simpson, “No Trinity, No Mission: The Apostolic Difference ...
  • The Virtual Body of Christ | A Missional Imagination for Community
    I was sorting through some old notes this morning and I came across my visual notes from the CML Conference on the Missional Church and Digital Media. The presentations by Mary Hess and Elizabeth Drescher align so well with Deana Thompson And John Roberto’s presentations at the Rethinking Faith Formation. I put them all together ...
  • New Study Shows Major Changes Coming to the Twin Cities Suburbs
    The Star Tribune ran an opinion piece in yesterday’s paper that highlights an important demographic study commissioned by the Met Council. (read the simplified report or the actual Demographic study – Trends, Preferences, and Opportunities) The following is the executive summary from the report: “For the metro area as a whole and the central and non-central counties, ...
  • Book | The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin
    Newbigin, Lesslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; WCC Publications 1989. The Author – Lesslie Newbigin Key Quotes “If the gospel is to challenge the public life of our society, if Christians are to occupy the “high ground” which they vacated in the noontime of “modernity,” it will not be by forming a ...
  • Book | Foolishness to the Greeks by Lesslie Newbigin
    Newbigin, Lesslie. Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1986. Author – Lesslie Newbigin My Reflection (this reflection was originally written in January, 2012 for the course Vocation of the Theologian) God reignited my call to ministry in 1994. ((meaning the full-time pastor/teacher role as opposed to the universal ...
  • Is the Church Compromising?
    Someone recently handed me an issue of Decision magazine (May 2014). The front cover had a picture of a yellow warning sign with a graphic of a church that was teetering on the top of a crumbling foundation. The headline read “The Danger of Compromise.” I paged through this magazine and noticed that it was filled ...
  • Book | Christianity After Religion by Diana Butler Bass
    Bass, Diana Butler. Christianity after Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. 1st ed. New York: HarperOne, 2012. I heard Diana Butler Bass speak at the Festival of Homiletics a couple years ago, and she was fantastic. These are the notes I took from that presentation. It changed the way ...
  • Why the Missional Movement Will Fail | A Response to Mike Breen
    Mike Breen wrote an article at The Verge Network titled Why the Missional Movement Will Fail. His answer boiled down to one word: discipleship. I couldn’t agree with him more. However, as I read his follow up article–Why the Missional Movement Will Fail (Part 2)–I was plagued with some nagging questions. Breen defines discipleship like this: Defining ...
  • The Kingdom of Heaven, Theories of Culture, and the Missional Church
    In this post I will connect the term The Kingdom of Heaven with Kathryn Tanner’s ideas in Theories of Culture. ((Tanner, Kathryn. Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology Guides to Theological Inquiry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.)) I will then propose that this is a missional imagination of how the Trinitarian God is at ...
  • Book | Missional Map-Making by Alan Roxburgh
    Roxburgh, Alan J. Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition. 1st ed. Leadership Network. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010. The Author Alan Roxburgh Quotes “My thesis is a very simple one: I do not believe that epistemology is a bloodless abstraction; the way we know has powerful implications for the way we live. I argue that every ...
  • Book | Testing the Spirits edited by Patrick Keifert
    Keifert, Patrick R. Testing the Spirits: How Theology Informs the Study of Congregations. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009. The Authors Ronald W. Duty Pat Taylor Ellison David Fredrickson Donald Juel Patrick Keifert Lois Malcolm Gary Simpson Three Shifts (from Van Gelder’s Foreword) The return of the congregation to theological education. The role of the Bible in the life of congregations. The role of congregations living ...
  • Article | Missio Dei – Understandings and Misunderstandings by Tormod Engelsviken
    Engelsviken, T. “Missio Dei: The Understanding and Misunderstanding of a Theological Concept in European Churches and Missiology.” International Review of Mission 92, no. 367 (2003): 481-497. Missio Dei- The Understanding and Misunderstanding – E. Engelsviken – my annotated copy The Author Tormod Engelsviken is Professor at the MF Norwegian School of Theology and Editor of Norwegian Journal of Missiology. Summary Englesviken ...
  • Book | Translating the Message by Lamin Sanneh
    Sanneh, Lamin O. Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture. 2nd ed. American Society of Missiology Series.Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009. The Author Lamin Sanneh is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity at Yale University. He, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is descended from the nyanchos, an ancient African royal house, and was ...
  • Listening to God in Everything | A Response to Lamin Sanneh’s Translating the Message
    I am currently reading Translating the Message by Lamin Sanneh. His thesis is that translation is the process of entering the vernacular and allowing the Gospel to find its own voice within the host culture. It is a helpful revisioning of the standard polemic against the colonization of Christendom to the Global South. However, it ...
  • Book | We Are Here Now by Patrick Keifert
    Keifert, Patrick R. We Are Here Now: A New Missional Era, a Missional Journey of Spiritual Discovery. Eagle, ID: Allelon Publishing, 2006.   The Author Patrick Keifert is Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He has also been an adjunct professor at the School of Law, Hamline University, St. Paul, since 1984. Ordained in 1978, ...
  • Book | The Missional Church in Perspective by Van Gelder and Zscheile
    Van Gelder, Craig, and Dwight J. Zscheile. The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation The Missional Network. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011. The Authors Craig Van Gelder “At age 15, Craig Van Gelder made a personal profession of faith. Three years later as a freshman in college, he answered a call to Christian ...
  • Book | Christopraxis by Edmund Arens
    Arens, Edmund. Christopraxis: A Theology of Action. 1st Fortress Press ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995. The Author Edmund Arens is a catholic theologian and professor of Fundamental Theology at the University of Luzern, Switzerland. Fundamental Theology is “a relatively recent theological discipline whose object and method has not altogether been clarified by theologians themselves. It is clear, ...
  • Book | Constants in Context by Bevans and Schroeder
    Bevans, Stephen B., and Roger Schroeder. Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today American Society of Missiology Series ; No. 30. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004.   Authors Stephen Bevans is Louis J. Luzbetak, S.V.D., Professor of Mission and Culture. He is a Roman Catholic priest in the Society of the Divine Word, an international missionary congregation, and ...
  • Book | The Church between Gospel and Culture edited by George R. Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder
    Hunsberger, George R., and Craig Van Gelder, eds. The Church between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1996. This book is a collection of essays written in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Many of them are in response to the work of Lesslie Newbigin as ...
  • Book | The Ministry of the Missional Church by Craig Van Gelder
    Van Gelder, Craig. The Ministry of the Missional Church: A Community Led by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007. Author read about Craig Van Gelder in this post. My Thoughts This book covers the bulk of the material we discussed in the class that Van Gelder taught called The Hermeneutics of Leading in Mission. Our conversations centered ...
  • Book | The Essence of the Church by Craig Van Gelder
    Van Gelder, Craig. The Essence of the Church: A Community Created by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000. The Author “At age 15, Craig Van Gelder made a personal profession of faith. Three years later as a freshman in college, he answered a call to Christian ministry. Since then he has focused on helping the ...
  • Book | Transforming Mission by David Bosch
    Bosch, David Jacobus. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission American Society of Missiology Series. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991. The Author Early life Bosch was born in Kuruman, Cape Province, South Africa, and died in a motor accident in 1992, aged 62. He was raised in a nationalist Afrikaner home with little regard for his nation’s black citizens and in 1948 ...
  • A Thketch of Missional Church
    A Thketch of Missional Church
  • History of the Missional Church
    Good overview of recent history. Must reference. missionalchurchnetwork.com/history-of-missional-church/
  • Paper | A Missiology for the ELCA Suburban Congregation by Steve Thomason
    This is the paper I wrote for CL8965 Missiology and the Missional Church with Craig Van Gelder in the Spring of 2012. ELCA Suburban Church_Thomason A Missiology for the ELCA Congregation in the United States Suburban Context by Steve Thomason  A Term Paper presented to Professor Craig Van Gelder Luther Seminary As a Requirement in Course CL8965 Missiology and ...
  • The Gospel and the God-Forsaken: The Challenge of the Missional Church in Suburbia by Todd Hiestand
    Todd’s paper was presented to the Evangelical Theological Society in March of 2007. Todd blogs about being a pastor and trying to be missional in suburbia. He has a personal blog and a collaborative blog.
  • A Missional Theory of Strategic Action
  • The Church…
    An important quote from The Missional Church in Perspective… The church is. The church does what it is. The church organizes what it does.

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