Others have canvassed the topic better (like Tim Keller) but this is how I explain what the missional church is. I believe it represents a four-part shift that the church in the West has experienced: a situational shift from a Christian culture to a Post-Christian culture with a host of new contextual questions to face; a theological shift in connecting mission to God’s attributes rather than merely an interim program of redemption between the Fall and New Creation; a missiological shift from viewing missions as largely a cross-cultural geographic movement from the Christian West to the pagan East to now reclaiming the early churches vision of being a sent people in their community & their world; and an ecclesiological shift where missions moves from being a program in the local church to being an essential shaping influence in the local churches identity, a calling every member has daily.
UPDATE: I just noticed late last night while reading through Michael Goheen’s dissertation (“‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’: J.E. Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology”) that he uses these same categories to talk about the missional church in regards to Lesslie Newbigin’s missionary ecclesiology. Looks like I was on the right track in summarizing the subject this way.
I’m considering turning this into a four week small group discussion that I can use. Here’s the link to download the four week small group discussion in its first-draft form. (This is a leaders guide, I need to develop a participants guide with stories, illustrations, and more).
Ideally I’d like to create four others video shorts that accompany four week small group studies (ex. “The Gospel”; “Discipleship”; “Community”; and “Evangelism as preaching grace and doing justice”). When I have time and access to the right historic church setting I’d like to reshoot this video to make it more universally usable and less jargon heavy.
Each small group resource would follow a simple weekly pattern: a short reading section a page or two in length, small group discussion questions, suggestions for life application, and then resources to go further at the end of the small group guide. For a while now I’ve wanted resources that were more substantive in what the offer people but were no less artistic and relevant because of that. Redeemer NYC has a host of great substantive resources but they aren’t artistic and lack video-shorts media. Rob Bell’s Nooma films are very artistic resources but limited in the content they engage their audience with.
Perhaps in time I can incorporate this into a small upstart business with local Indie musicians laying down the background tracks; and have young unfound videographers helping create artistic video-short montages for each resource; and in time get some of the leading influencers in the topic area’s share in the construction of the small group resources and videos.
Opportunity is wide open for someone to do this well they just need the right audio and visual talent, and a theological sensitivity to what they’re trying to construct and why and how it can pastorally minister to those who use it.