Five practices to mend the missional disconnect

Those who know me well realize that there is more than a little of the curmudgeon in me. Something that is increasingly annoying is the proliferation of the word “missional.” I suppose the history of mission meant that some new word needed to replace “missionary,” hence the advent of missional. Frankly, I think it confuses more normal people than it enlightens. Is it really problematic to be a “missionary church”? In the end, most church members talk about being missional all the while continuing to do what the church has always done.


This isn’t the fault of church members. Instead, it’s the fault of ministry leaders who haven’t sufficiently unpacked, explained, and applied missional theology both to the life of the church and to the life of the Christian.

At it’s heart being missional is about placing God’s mission at the center of the life of the individual and the center of the church’s existence, where it was surely meant to be all along [read more here]. As the church goes it must go with a certain type of posture. This is critical. As the church goes into the world, it must go as a missionary. Going requires moving beyond the walls of the church building and into the community.

The key to being missional is introducing missional practices into your life. A simple way to do that is by following the acronym “bells,” which Michael Frost unpacks in his book Exile: Living Missional in a Post-Christian Culture.

B – Bless – Intentionally try to bless three people this week, one of whom is not a Christian.

E – Eat – Share a meal with three people this week, one of whom is not a Christian.

L – Listen – Create intentional space in your life to listen to God.

L – Learn – Reflectively read sections of the gospels seeking to pattern your life after Christ’s.

S – Sent – Orient yourself toward your role as an ambassador of reconciliation. Try asking: how have I worked with or resisted Jesus today?


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