This course examines the primary considerations in determining what constitutes a missional church. Special attention is given to understanding the foundational principles that guide all missional churches and the core practices that stem from these principles. Students evaluate past and present church experiences in light of these principles and practices in order to identify areas of needed transformation, both personally and in ministry.
Students need to understand the phasing in of a missional mindset into a congregation. The phasing in of a missional mindset is biblically based and practically worked through, using biblical examples. Students need to understand current prevailing worldviews and philosophies of life in Western culture, primarily, modernism, postmodernism and post-postmodernism or pseudo-modernism. An obstacle to the phasing in of a missional mindset is the sacred/secular divide characteristic of modernity and present in the mindset of much, if not most, of Western clergy.
This course thoroughly discusses why the Missional Church, and missional praxis, are not only biblical, as reflected, especially, in the missional patterns of Jesus’ ministry, but also essential towards the achievement of the Great Commission.
Specifically, the integration of faith, career, and mission makes the believer's daily work instrumental for the works God prepared for them to do before the creation of the world (Eph. 2:10). This results in neighborhoods, worksites, the marketplace, and classrooms being transformed for Christ.
This course is biblically based. Missional rhythms/patterns are apparent throughout Scripture, e.g., God’s commission for Abraham's seed to bless all nations; the restoration of the thrust of Abraham’s calling in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:8; 13-4); Apostolic missions , especially in Acts, and culminated in Revelation 7:9-10. Many contemporary missional practitioners have rediscovered these forgotten ways in Scripture.
A missional theology is developed in this course based on Jesus' ministry. Jesus' missional praxis is outlined in his messianic vocation in Luke 4:16-21. An outstanding example of Jesus' missional praxis is his table-fellowship. The missional patterns apparent in Jesus’ ministry have been followed by the apostles, throughout church history and in the missional engagement of contemporary practitioners.
The contextualization of the Gospel requires a thorough understanding of a people-group's or an area's worldview. Therefore, leadership is responsible for understanding a given culture's (or subculture's) understanding of their identity, their environment, evil and eschatological hope or expectations. The kingdom of God is then made a tangible reality in a particular cultural context and then the Gospel is shared in a manner related to the particular worldview of the cultural/subcultural group or area a missional congregation is attempting to reach for Christ.
Missional congregations are intercultural in the way a particular group's or area's story is carefully listened to for the purpose of discerning signs of exile (alienation from God) in the story told. The missional believer (team) then enters the story of the group and retells their story in relation to the Gospel.
The principles and practices of missional churches are studied and discussed in this course. Further discussion focuses on the missional practices of Jesus and the apostles for the purpose of evaluating contemporary missional churches. Additionally, the student assesses their former and present church experiences in light of these principles and practices in order to determine needed transformation, both personally and in ministry.
Disciple-making is a centerpiece of missional praxis. If a missional congregation does justice (providing for the physical needs of a people group) and evangelism only, they may do effective outreach but they are not a missional church. Discipleship is central to being missional and therefore, the newest convert is immediately thrust into mission; discipleship is done "in mission." This pattern of disciple-making is outstanding in Jesus' method. For example, in Luke 10:1-23, Jesus sends his disciples on a mission and following their mission, Jesus teaches them. Disciple-making is ordered by experience first, with teaching/Bible study following.