Defining “Mission”

The Missional Manifesto has been out for a little while now and I wonder how it will shape the concept of mission for evangelicals going forward. If you are not familiar it is a collection of 10 affirmations and clarification on “missional” from a group of leaders representing a wide swath of Christianity.

As if we need another “manifesto” but still a few parts of the preamble and affirmations stuck out to me and I want to highlight them here for contemplation.

“It is first necessary to be clear about what missional does not mean. Missional is not synonymous with movements attempting to culturally contextualize Christianity, implement church growth, or engage in social action. The word missional can encompass all of the above, but it is not limited to any one of these…”

“…Missional represents a significant shift in the way we understand the church. As the people of a missionary God, we are entrusted to participate in the world the same way He does—by committing to be His ambassadors. Missional is the perspective to see people as God does and to engage in the activity of reaching them. The church on mission is the church as God intended.”

Key points from the affirmations include a focus on “Disicple-making” which seems to be more about conversion than discipleship and the “duality” of the proclamation and living of the gospel.

Affirmation #7 “We believe that discipling of the nations is the essential aspect of the mission of God (Matthew 28:18-20). The gospel calls people to respond in faith and repentance to the good news of the Kingdom in and by the gospel’s power. The maturing of believers is inherent to the work of the church ushering those who place faith in Jesus from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity (Colossians 1:28). This means the church trains its members to be leaders in deeds of justice and ministry to the poor, as well as live out the implications of their faith in business, the arts, in politics, the academy, the home, and in all of life. As the church makes disciples, it equips them to bring their faith to bear on every area of their lives, private and public.”

#8 “We believe the mission and responsibility of the church includes both the proclamation of the Gospel and its demonstration. From Jesus, we learn the truth is to be proclaimed with authority and lived with grace. The church must constantly evangelize, respond lovingly to human needs, as well as ”seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7). By living out the implications of the gospel, the missional church offers a verbal defense and a living example of its power.”

Take a look at the whole Manifesto here and let me know your thought on the need and application of this type of statement.

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