A quick search on Amazon.com will yield a myriad of book titles from the search that targets titles, subtitles, or themes that include the word “missional.” Just in the last two years there have been atleast ten books written, 1) Seven Levers : Missional Strategies for Conferences by Robert Schnase, 2) Sentness : Six Postures of Missional Christians by Kim Hammond, 3) Soul Whisperer : Why the Church Must Change the Way it Views Evangelism by Gary Comer, 4) Who is the Church? : an Ecclesiology for the Twenty-First Century by Cheryl Peterson, 5) Created and Led by the Spirit : Planting Missional Congregations edited by Mary Sue Dehmlow Dreier, 6) Reformed Means Missional : Following Jesus Into the World by Samuel Logan Jr., 7) Understanding Christian Mission : Participation in Suffering and Glory by Scott Sunquist, 8) A Missional Orthodoxy : Theology and Ministry inaA Post-Christian Context by Gary Tyra, 9) The Missional Quest : Becoming a Church of the Long Run by Lance Ford, 10) Recovering the Full Mission of God : a Biblical Perspective on Being, Doing, and Telling by Dean Flemming. There were an additional twelve books published in 2012.
The use of the term can cause confusion as to what it means and how it is applied to each church’s ministry. It can also be argued that some elasticity is required to know how it is applied in each churches context. That being said, there are four unifying threads: 1) God is a missionary God who sends the church into the world. 2) God's mission in the world is related to the reign (kingdom) of God. 3) The missional church is an incarnational (versus attractional) ministry sent to engage a postmodern, post-Christendom, globalized context. 4) The internal life of the missional church focuses on every believer living as a disciple engaging in mission.
Along with understanding the theme of missional change many people will try to discount this by using the “old dichotomy between evangelism and social action.” Today, the church must be persistent in “becoming more aware of the relationship between being, doing, and telling the Christian mission.” By succumbing to the debate a church falsely isolates itself from the needs that people and disallow the gospel to meet their physical and spiritual needs simultaneously. Jesus himself wove the two concepts together without distinction. He healed and fed simultaneously pronouncing that their sins had been forgotten. The church may not heal and feed with miracles, yet the same tenacity should weave physical and spiritual needs. Jesus even equated the extension of this to a normative practice among the righteous and a withholding of this as a characteristic of those sent to eternal damnation. The parable goes as this,
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was...