More Than Handing Out Coffee

Posted: May 25, 2011 in evangelism, gospel, missions

Ed Stetzer has some wise words about what it means to truly be “missional”:

Jesus was sent from the Father on a mission with an agenda: redemption. He is redeeming people and the world to and for Himself. And, that means we must be passionate about the advance of the gospel because of Jesus’ call and his example. You can be an evangelistic church and not be missional, but you cannot be a missional church and not be evangelistic. Let me say it this way. If we are not developing “missional” churches for the Great Commission, we are not developing missional churches–at least in a biblical sense of the word. Yes, handing out coffee, teaching kids to read, and picking up trash in a park can be done for Christ. When we do these types of things, we are seeking to make the world more like Jesus intends for it to be. Seeking to be missional, however, without following the commissions of Jesus is not joining God on mission. It is merely pursuing a mission that we have created, not one where we follow Jesus on the mission he proclaimed.

We must never forget the all-important calling to “make disciples” of Jesus Christ!  That is at the heart of what it means to truly be “missional”!  Stetzer defines the word “missional” as,

…a way of being that leads to a way of acting. The missional church is made up of Christians who are called through God’s gracious redemption to live for Him and His great mission throughout the world and who are sent out to be co-laborers with God to accomplish His mission in the world. This is the mission that God sent His Son on, and it is the mission that He sends His people on. So, missional Christ-followers and missional churches are joining Jesus on mission. They care about the things that Jesus directed us to care about: serving the hurting and loving others (the Great Commandment), and seeking to proclaim the gospel to the lost (the Great Commission).

Regarding many churches today, he writes:

Too many churches and Christians ignore the biblical theology of a sent church and God as a missionary. The institutional church is not the dispenser of salvation. It is the message bearer of that salvation. We criticize Catholics who consider the church a vehicle of grace, yet we embrace an “invest and invite” mentality that requires people to show up on Sunday morning in order to receive the message of new life. The churches that are exclusively working in a solely attractional model may have a passion to see people experience transformation, but it seems to me that they are missing the inherent flaws in the attractional mindset…

The attractional-only church, whether on purpose or unintentionally, conditions everyday Christians to feel no responsibility to have Gospel-focused, spiritual conversations. The “invest and invite” church makes the institutional church (contemporary or traditional) and their trained platform leaders the dispensers of salvation. If people need to go to the pastor to meet God, someone is confused about “who’s who” in the gospel story and its proclamation.

These quotes come from his new series entitled, “Developing Missional Churches for the Great Commission” (Part 1 and Part 2).

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