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Missional Defined

Marty Duren

If I want to avoid having "missional" become simply another buzzword that I use/have used in the large lexicon of theological jargon, then it needs to be defined in a way that is not avant garde. Can it be explained in a way so that it never needs updating? I don't know for sure, but I'd like to think so. The probability is that several worthy definitions will be brought to the front before this discussion reaches its peak, which would be cool.

A couple of years ago, I taught some lessons in which a key statement about the church was this: The purpose of the church in the world is to partner in the mission of God as the chosen community through which He displays His glory to all peoples of the world. Missional is partnership. Joe Thorn has done a good job of tracking the mission of God and the mission of the church .

Prefering the move toward simplicity of terminology, yet wanting a phrase or sentence that will encourage further thought, I like the expression that "missional is partnership in the missio dei ."

The missio dei is more than the keeping of the Great Commission, though that is certainly an substantial part of it. It truly does involve God's redemptive work in the entirety of His creation of which saving some from every nation, tribe and tongue is a part. To be missional is far more than operating mission boards or even sending out missionaries--it is the recongnition of any individual or local body that the purpose of our existence is to be God's partner in what He is doing. It is what He asked of Abraham, of Moses, of Joshua, of the Twelve and it is what He asks and offers to us.

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