Monday, June 05, 2006

Missional, Schmissional

Part of my ongoing journey has been learning a new/different way of living the Christian life. While this might seem like it should be easy, it hasn't been. Up until a couple of years ago my entire spirituality was expressed through church roles. Ministry was through church relationships. While it was often every day of the week, it was still separate from my everyday life.

Over the last couple of years, after listening in on the emerging conversation, I've been encouraged and inspired to see life and ministry differently. But honestly, I've been disappointed that there aren't more average people telling about the kinds of things they do every day to live missionally. Maybe it's the sort of thing that doesn't blog well.

Jamie had some great thoughts about this today, urging for more models of incarnational living. He points out that we need to go beyond just Sunday morning gatherings and theological discussions in praxis.

On a funny note, Steve McCoy on the Missional Baptist Blog in his post Missional Madness proposed that, because of misuse, we change the word "missional" to something else...

Evanganal (could have a dangerous double meaning, though)

After pondering this, I propose the term...
Charismissional - spirit-led missional living.

Dwight Friesen, in his article Living Incarnationally describes what I aspire to (If you haven't read this article yet, I recommend it.) :

"When Christ is incarnated through you and me, we will be looking for ways to empty ourselves in the service of the Father by serving others as the Holy Spirit guides us. We become active participants in a divine dance through which all of creation is being reconciled to Christ. This is a dynamic faith process that will always find unique expression through each follower of Christ and each cluster of Christ-followers."


Pam Hogeweide said...

we were sort of kind of talking about this, the ordinariness of being Christ followers over at

check out my comment and also the blog post below mine.

you said, "I've been disappointed that there aren't more average people telling about the kinds of things they do every day to live missionally."

yeah, we're out here, an army of regular people who are rousing from the spell that held us trance-like into thinking that only big things for God really matter.

It's a lie. The small, seemingly insignificant stuff matters, too. It matter a lot.

Yeah, I'm not sure what I think of the word missional. It's not as bad, though, as the word "evangelism." Don't even get me started...!

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Ah, a breath of fresh air, "serving others as the Holy Spirit guides us." That is I believe, the real Christianity because it shows a true relationship and listening to God and then an obedience to his promptings by loving others. A loving others because He first loved us.

DPT said...

The Friesen quote is helpful. I see Jesus making disciples in the gospels, then the disciples making disciples in Acts. But it's a Spirit-led collaboration. It's not just a group of individuals "strategizing" about how to reach the world around them like a group of marketing consultants.

The disciples learned that "apart from him they could do nothing," and out of that—organically, if you will—grew the church and their ministry to those outside the church. Remove that vital core and you have, well, a lot of the church today. Disciples make disciples. As they grow, so will the opportunities to serve and communicate the gospel to others.

John Frye said...

You are really on to something here. I, too, resonsate (a good emergent word)with the Friesen quote.

How about "whatwouldJesusdotional"?

Jim said...

I've long questioned where we have gone with the term "missionary". It escapes me just who we are trying to "save" in Italy, England, etc. Discipling, it seems, has come to be more about cloning another believer to our doctrine rather than simply helping another individual to experience Christ. Truthfully, I've long felt the biggest mission field out there is the square footage occupied by any of our own denominational constituents.....

Robbymac said...


You rock. Charismissional -- I think I've finally found the phrase I'm looking for to replace "post-Charismatic". I've been wondering when a phrase would suddenly appear that would sum up a paradigm that isn't dependent on saying what it's "post".

You should copyright it quick, and get t-shirts and books and conferences...

Just kidding! :)

rhoekstra said...

John: How about what has Jesus "donealreadytional"???

Steve S. said...

"I've been disappointed that there aren't more average people telling about the kinds of things they do every day to live missionally."

Does this qualify?

I have been blessed to see the least likely candidates function as 'missionaries' in our community. There is an couple in their 60's who just became disciples who are taking ownership of their block, they just had a huge neighborhood BBQ with tons of people showing up.

Kelly said...

i agree with your sentiment that there aren't a lot of average people telling about what they do daily to live on a missional basis. since joining the emergent conversation and then moving into the inner city, it's hard not to judge those who simply discuss-discuss-discuss with no action.

but i've learned that incarnational ministry is more than just where you live. it's an intentionality in the WAY that you live.

i keep a list of "how to build community" on my desk at work that kinda keeps me in check about fighting the seclusion we are so prone to take up. if you like, i can email it to you. send me an email:

House of Grace said...


Your new word rocks! Charismissional communicates so much with so few letters. I think this term will resonate with many of us.

wilsonian said...

Grace... I see we visit a lot of the same places. I'm glad to have finally made it over here.

I agree totally that we need to hear more stories, but the majority might always come from people blogging anonymously in urban contexts. When you live in a small town, and blog under your own name, it isn't as easy to write and still maintain integrity and preserve relationships.

Love what I've read here... I'll be back :)

grace said...

Yikes! I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. I thought summertime was supposed to be leisurely. Sheesh!

There really are people talking about their ordinary acts of service, and I'm starting to be more aware of that.

So true. We want our love and service to be rooted in His spirit and life.

Thanks for your insightful comments. They reminded me of your recent analogy about the grapevine wreath and the vineyard. If our ministry is rooted in the vine, the life of the Spirit will be a vital part of it.

I always "resonate" with what you have to say. whatwouldjesusdotional is a mouthful.

The "over there" missionary mentality sometimes causes us to neglect the responsibility to serve around us on an everyday basis.

I'm glad you like it. I'm hoping for royalties.

An even bigger mouthful!

That was great. I hope we really do start hearing more of peoples' stories like this, both what they are doing as a group and as individuals.

I think I just saw that list over at Bob's blog. That's a great idea to print it out as a reminder. I totally agree with you that it's much more about how you live than what you do because the doing has to come from a different way of seeing and believing.

house of grace,
Nice to meet you! Maybe we're cousins too. :)

It does feel like I already know you, probably from at rhymes place. That's a great point about maintaining integrity in relationships. I can see where that would make a difference in the stories one could share on a blog.

Trailady said...

Hi Grace! Like you, my views of what mission is have changed drastically in recent years. I'm learning that it's not always doing something big that counts. Sometimes just reaching out to someone with no hidden motive or ambition is witnessing. Smiling at and listening to people, making them feel that someone cares is mission. This takes a lot of pressure to perform, to "win souls" off my shoulders. If you are kind, people will want to know why... the door begins to open... :o) I highly reccomend you to read 'Permission Evangelism'. Excellent book based on the outreach method of Jesus Christ. Blessings to you!!

Robert said...

I heard a good example of how we are to let the Holy Spirit do His work in evangelism.... a pastor was sharing how at a group meeting of local pators they would normally go around the room and compare who had won the most souls for the Lord that week. How selfish and arrogant he thought.... any person who DId respond and recieve Christ at anyones sharing had countless numbers of people and experiences which watered the soil of their heart so the Spirit could convict.... i just was really struck by that truth. We water God causes the growth all glory and honor to Him as winning the soul!!!

Charismissional???? Hmmm does this mean the4y speak in tongues AND seek support while doing so?? LOL glad i found your blog grace much depth here :)