Missional; this is a word that has gained popularity in the last 10 years. Almost no fundamental/evangelical church today would say that it is not evangelistic or missional. Such popularity is underscored by the following quote:
“It has become increasingly difficult to open a ministry book or attend a church conference and not be accosted by the word missional. A quick search on Google uncovers the presence of "missional communities," "missional leaders," "missional worship," even "missional seating," and "missional coffee." Today, everyone wants to be missional. Can you think of a single pastor who is proudly anti-missional?” (Quoted from Leadership Journal, Fall of 2008 Issue)
What does this word mean? The following paragraph gives us a clear meaning of this word:
A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a "sent one" who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei—the sending of God—is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because we are the "sent" people of God, the church is the instrument of God's mission in the world. As things stand, many people see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church; a means by which the church is grown. Although we frequently say "the church has a mission," according to missional theology a more correct statement would be "the mission has a church." (Quoted from Leadership Journal, Fall of 2008)
SUNDAY MORNING GATHERING
The Sunday morning corporate gathering and worship service of the local church is not the primary hour of evangelism. The body gathers together primarily for exaltation of our Sovereign God and for edification of the Saints. It is no crime to include the gospel in the message and presentation of the Word of God. Even Paul made it clear, although somewhat far-fetched, that the corporate gathering must be orderly and decent. His reasoning for this was of course that God deserved no less, but perhaps someone who was unconverted might attend the gathering and quite possible fall under conviction and become converted. Many so called Conservative, Southern, and Independent Baptist churches along with many bible or community churches are so weak and anemic. The reason lies in the fact that most sermons on Sunday morning are topical, evangelistic, and doctrinally weak.
I would agree that any pastor/preacher would be amiss not to, as Spurgeon described it, “Make a bee-line for the cross at some point.” The point is we don’t gather on Sunday morning for the primary purpose of being missional. This is what happens when the Sovereign has been properly exalted and the Saints properly edified.
SUNDAY MORNING SCATTERING
When the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is carefully examined, one discovers the true method of church growth.
First, the main verb of this section is not “go.” The main verb of this paragraph is “make disciples.” So forget these sentimental, tear-jerking, sappy pleas to “go.” To be obedient to the imperative or the main verb, each one of us, yes each and every believer is to be busy making disciples.
Second, this main verb is supported by three (3) participles. In other words we have three (3) supporting verbs that tell us exactly how Christ wants us to make disciples or to accomplish the great commission.
Going – as you are going about your everyday life of living, make disciples. This means at work, at school, at the grocery store, in the park, over a meal, at your favorite restaurant, at a Seahawks/Mariners game, or in your living room. In other words, disciples are made, not primarily on Sunday mornings, but at anytime and anywhere.
Baptizing – Once an individual has been converted by the Holy Spirit of God by applying the completed and effective works of Christ to the heart, a disciple is baptized. One is not an obedient disciple is one refuses to submit to water baptism.
Teaching – In every opportunity a disciple is then taught all that Jesus taught the original twelve (12) disciples turned apostles.
I think that the Apostle Paul summarized this commission extremely well when he told his most trusted assistant, Timothy:
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:1-2, ESV)
Tomorrow I will conclude this little series with the real problem of church growth ministries and methods.
To be continued…