Words take on different meanings over time, so much so that many don’t have a connotation, but rather several connotations. This is particularly true, if not even more true, in the context of modern evangelicalism. Think of terms regarding worship. What does “contemporary” really mean anymore? It could mean old hymns with guitar, it could mean old hymns re-worked with new tunes (and guitar), it could mean hymns with electric guitar, it could mean no hymns but only recent songs, it could mean no hymns but songs which were once recent, it could mean smoke machines and crazy lights (or is that “relevant” because I’m honestly confused?). The same goes with the word “missional.” Some people look upon it with suspicion while others embrace it without discernment. Instead of thinking up a new word (I still can’t use the word “Christ-follower” but you should feel free if you want), I’ll do my best to describe what I think of when I use the word “missional.”
In fact I’ve tried to define it before. And I did a fine job, but then again, since I’m the one defining it, what’s that worth but the paper it’s written on? And I wrote it Microsoft Word. So not too much to you.
Still, here’s what I mean, at least in part, when I say that I desire for myself, my family, and local congregation to live missionally: Outward facing mindset where one is willing to sacrifice self, self-comforts, preferences, and conveniences, without sacrificing the truth, for the sake of those yet to believe.
This isn’t exhaustive by any means, but I think living missionally should not include less than this.
I personally like definitions. I love well crafted sentences, and nifty looking models; I have a particular fondness for Triangles (thanks to John Frame). But sentences describing what ministry should look like don’t do too much for me-or for anyone-when they stay just sentences and models. Examples and illustrations are much more powerful, shaping, and practical. That’s why I try to use them often in sermons, for they flesh out definitions and propositional truth.
If you want to know what I think it looks like to live missionally, we need to look no further than the example of several chaplains back in WWII. Do yourself a favor and check out the whole article here.
With the Dorchester rapidly taking on water, there were not enough life jackets readily available for every man on the ship. So, when the life jackets ran out, the four chaplains removed their own, and handed them to soldiers who didn’t have them.…..