Pastor’s Post: What is “Missional”?

(By Jake Porter)

I would like to take a minute to talk to you about a current Christian-lingo buzz word; “Missional”.  Some of you might have never heard of this before, and others of you might be thoroughly versed in what it means.  In seminary we had an entire fourteen week class entitled Gospel, Culture, Church that explored what it means for the Church to BE missional.  The single sentence answer to “What does Missional mean?” is to say “Being on the Mission of Jesus.”  The next question that naturally follows is “What is the Mission of Jesus?”  This begins the hard part – defining things.  This is also why we had an entire class about this one single word!

What was Jesus about?  What was the main thrust of Jesus’ ministry and mission?

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus begins his ministry by declaring, “Repent!  For the Kingdom of Heaven has come near!” (Matthew 4:17)  Jesus’ teaching is about showing what life is like in the Kingdom of Heaven, or under the Reign of Heaven.  Jesus tells many parables about what the Kingdom is like.

In Luke, Jesus describes what his Mission is by quoting Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18&19)  Jesus also trains the disciples for their Mission in the Gospel of Luke by telling them “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you all.’” (Luke 10:9)

So this is what we are to be about!  Generally it can be said that we are to show the world what it means to be under the Reign of God and in the Kingdom of God.  This Gospel is FOR ALL cultures, and will TRANSFORM ALL cultures, and the church is the SET APART (or holy) community to do this.  But what does that mean?  And where does the Great Commission fit into all of this?  And what about the traditional understanding of overseas or home “Missions”?

We will take this up more next month (and also during our study of Matthew during Lent and Eastertide).  For now please be thinking and praying about what it means that Hamilton Christian Reformed Church, on the corner of 136th and 47th, is Called to be an example of the Kingdom of God.