The Meaning of ‘Missional’ and Why It Matters


Missional. It’s a big buzzword in churches. Pastors love to use it. But what on earth does it really mean?

Oh, buzzwords…

Usually, they come and go quickly, but this buzzword is different. It’s actually worth getting and keeping. The move to Missional represents an important shift in modern ministry and in our understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

So what does Missional mean? Alvin Reid, a professor at Southeastern, offers the best summary description I’ve seen. ((Reid, As You Go, pp. 28-29)) Reid characterizes the shift to Missional ministry as follows:

  • From church plant (facilities) to church planting.
  • From attractional evangelism as the foundation to incarnational evangelism.
  • From maintaining institutions to advancing a movement.
  • From compartmentalization to integration.
  • From minimalistic gospel presentations to grand narrative conversations.
  • From local to glocal (local to global)
  • From methodology-centered to gospel-centered.
  • From events to process.
  • From the lowest common denominator to self-feeders.

Boom! That’s “missional” in a decent-sized nutshell.

As you can see, the missional shift radically redirects church ministry.

For the last 20+ years, event-driven, attractional, mall-styled ministry has defined the American church scene. In fact, many folks today know of no other way to do church. It’s all they’ve ever seen.

But the move to missional ministry proposes another way. A more authentic way. A more cost-effective way. A more adaptable way. A more hands-on way. A more everyone-helps way. And as many would argue, a more biblical, Jesus way.

So what do you think? How does this square with your understanding of missional and ministry?

Published by

Derek Griz

I am a Christian, a husband, a father, and a pastor (Immanuel Church). I write from those perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter (@derekgriz).

One thought on “The Meaning of ‘Missional’ and Why It Matters”

  1. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 its all about God’s passionate redemption story. All about how he created us for the sole purpose of making much of Him and all we want to do is run from Him. If our eyes have been opened to the truth, we should be living sacrificially so that all peoples of all nations would know of His wondrous love! It’s all about Him!

Comments are closed.