Recently “missional” has been the buzzword on my Facebook feeds and twitter streams. “How can we make our church more missional?” “How can we make our youth group more missional?” “How can we make our DENOMINATION more missional?”
First of all, being “missional” is not going to save your church. It’s not a success plan. It’s a plan for failure, by the world’s standards. You won’t ever be a missional mega church. Words like “incarnational” get thrown around. Incarnation simply means “with flesh on it” (Think Jesus is God Incarnate). Missional churches look more like their communities and often you can’t tell the difference between the neighborhood folks and the church folks (THIS IS A GOOD THING).
Being missional won’t create an increase in your weekly/monthly church income. It will cost you money (lots of money). Your missional church won’t ever be able to afford a full time pastor. Your pastor will have to look for income outside of the church. Your church will have to be creative with ways to make money because tithes aren’t going to pay the bills and allow you to be incarnate in your community.
Being missional really only takes 1 step though. It’s easy to do. It’s not easy to figure out how to do it AND be sustainable, but it’s easy to do.
Step 1: Figure out what your community needs and be that thing.
Your community doesn’t need another church building that just serves as a place of worship. Your community NEEDS a food co-op, an after school program to keep kids off the streets between 3PM and sundown, a program to help folks with job skills and resume building or a cheap daycare so the parents in your community can work without having to worry about their children.
Your community needs a lot of things. It needs you to be missional, but being missional will not save your church or your denomination. And it’s not a decision your denomination (or your pastor) can make for you. It’s got to be something your people want or you will fail. You have to be committed to the betterment of your community, no matter what the cost (even at the expense of your church). That’s what missional means. Missional is church with its work boots on.