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May/June 2006 Issue

Helping Congregations Be More Missional
By Merv Budd

The missional church movement is not simply looking for a change in behaviour, any more than Christ is merely looking for sinful people to become better behaved.

In most cases, when people talk about changing, they often have in mind a change in behaviour — a change in what they do. Unfortunately, a resolve to change is often thwarted by an unchanged way of thinking. While discipline and willpower can bring initial changes, long-term change is the fruit of a new way of thinking.

Jesus calls people to die and embrace a completely new life, the evidence of which is changed behaviour.

So, too, the missional congregation is not simply one that participates in certain behaviours, ministries and outreach programs. Instead, its self-understanding is fundamentally shaped by God’s missional nature and oriented toward the resulting practical implications.

There are no “laws” of procedure, no formulas for achieving a missional mindset, but there are stimuli that can be introduced to a congregation’s culture that can help achieve momentum.

Knowledge — Understanding the missional church movement, becoming informed and creating awareness about it, is an obvious and needed ingredient. Some recommended resources: Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America by Darrell L. Guder; The Continuing Conversion of the Church by Darrell L. Guder; Treasure in Clay Jars: Patterns in Missional Faithfulness by Lois Y. Barrett; Gospel and Our Culture Network (www.gocn.org); The Allelon Center (www.allelon.org); Missional Leadership Institute (www.mliweb.net); and the Ooze community (www.theooze.com).

Questions — Asking profound, fundamental questions and not allowing glib or pat answers can have a potent effect in stirring the winds of change. Such questions might include: What is our gospel for the rest of creation aside from humanity? Why did God create the Church? What type of church would transform Canadian culture?

Intention — It is easy to read an article and get fired up about a cause. Such fires soon die down without someone who is intentionally charged with keeping the fires burning. Find someone with a passion for the local church and God’s mission and empower them to champion the missional movement within the church. (A great strategy in helping such people is to have them join or start an Equipping Evangelist Network — see www.equippingevangelists.com.)

Reformation — Change comes slowly. Incremental change can help build momentum. Where there is a dead tradition, stop trying to resuscitate it; allow things to die so God can raise up something new. Great plants start from tiny seeds. Take what you have and begin to nourish it.

Experiment — The shape of the missional church is not set in stone. Make attempts at becoming missional — stretch yourself to act outside the box. Trust God to lead you even in the midst of failing.

Merv Budd of Burlington, Ont., is national director of Equipping Evangelists.

Other Articles
May/June 2006 Issue

Cover Story
God, Glory, Gold: Athletes Who Believe

Featured Articles
The Missional Church: Getting Back to the Core of Our Identity

Helping Congregations Be More Missional

Where Does This "Missional Church" Talk Come From?

Being Neighbourly, Being Missional

From the Editor
Our Cover and More

The Gathering Place
The Ottawa Manifesto

   
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