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Primer on Missional: Part 1

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son (John 1:14, The Message).

This great passage is the story of the Incarnation – God the Son leaving the glory of heaven to condescend and become one of us, a man. He did not wait for us to draw near to him. Instead, he moved into our neighborhood and came to us.

Historically, the approach of US churches with regards to foreign missions has been the same. When someone is called to minister to the people of Nairobi, we don’t confirm that call and then send that back to their job down the street. No, we send him to language school, study the cultures, norms, myths, legends and values of the people. And then the missionary goes and moves into the neighborhood of those to whom he longs to minister.

Conversely, when it comes to local missions (which, as an aside, we rarely call missions – we usually use terms like “outreach” or “evangelism”), we change the approach. We develop a big program, open our doors and then wait for the crowds to come to us. Sometimes it even works. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t create attractive programs and invite people to come. It’s rather to say, in the words of Eddie Gibbs, we need to become less invitational and more infiltrational. Instead of standing on the sidelines of the world inviting people to come to us, missional is about infiltrating the world – even if “the world” means “around the corner” – with the gospel of Christ, bringing hope and help to hurting people.

That dichotomy – “come to us” versus “we’ll go to you” – sets the stage to understanding missional. In part 2 of our primer on missional, we will look at the driving concerns and in part 3 we will look at a perspective on missional. They are coming soon. Until then, sound off on the interact question.

Interact:Why is going to the world so much harder than asking the world to come to us?


One Response

  1. good post. going into the world does require more commitment and more persecution. it also is there for everyone to be involved with. not just a select few.

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