Primer on Missional: Part 2

I often hear comments about the foolishness of Twitter, but sometimes that 140 character limit forces the writer to be ultra-clear and ultra-concise in what is being said. That is never a bad characteristic for an author. Anyway, a while back, Ed Stetzer wrote a tweet that laid our four primary concerns of missional:

  • nature of gospel
  • purpose of church
  • agenda of kingdom
  • communication of message.

Ed really got to the heart of missional in those 140 characters. In part 1, we introduced the “come to us” vs “go to them” dichotomy. Let’s now look briefly at each of these concerns.

The Nature of the Gospel – Is the gospel simply that Jesus died and rose again to save me from my sins? No. The gospel is much bigger and much broader than that. The gospel is that in Christ, God is expanding his kingdom throughout the world, redeeming his elect from sin & indwelling them with his Spirit. Jesus’ death and resurrection may be the victorious climax of the gospel, but we lose sight of God’s plan in history when we zoom in so far on that event that we lose sight of how God orchestrated history to that point and what He has been doing since.

The Purpose of the Church – It has often been said, “The church is God’s plan A. There is no plan B.” But what does that mean? What is the church supposed to be doing in the world? Revelation 21 paints a picture of the new heavens and new earth where there is no more sickness, no more pain, no more sin and no more death. Instead, Christ is Lord over all and is the life and light of that place. The church’s purpose is to labor to make that future kingdom a present reality, proclaiming Christ as victor over sin and death and bringing hope and healing, both physical and spiritual, to hurting people.

The Agenda of the Kingdom – 32 times in Luke’s gospel we read the phrase, “kingdom of God.” It was a driving theme in Jesus’ life and throughout the gospels. In Christ, the kingdom of God came to bear on the earth. Missional is concerned not only with the kingdom as some abstract concept, but practically, what does it mean that Jesus inaugurated the kingdom and we live in its partial revelation anticipating its final consummation at his return?

The Communication of the Message – I read a report a while back that contended that you cannot separate methodology from message with the point that to change the means of communicating the gospel was to fundamentally change the message. And to be fair, a large part of what is at stake in missional is the vehicles used to communicate. However, I would contend that missional churches/believers, those that see themselves as missionaries to the world and go to their unbelieving friends and neighbors, are those who really grasp the true message – that in Christ, God came to us.

Interact: Which of these concerns do you see as most significant? Why?

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