I'm going to be doing a series of blogs on missional churches, emerging churches and reaching post-moderns. This spins out of the process we've been engaged in at my church of renewing our vision and focus as a church. Below is a pretty good intro the the missional church ideal as drawn from http://www.friendofmissional.org/.
Description a Missional Church
A missional church is one where people are exploring and rediscovering what it means to be Jesus' sent people as their identity and vocation.
A missional church will be made up of individuals willing and ready to be Christ's people in their own situation and place.
A missional church knows that they must be a cross-cultural missionary (contextual) people in their own community.
A missional church will be engaged with the culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (not of the world). They will become intentionally indigenous.
A missional church understands that God is already present in the culture where it finds itself. Therefore, a missional church doesn't view its purpose as bringing God into the culture or taking individuals out of the culture to a sacred space.
A missional church will seek to plant all types of missional communities to expand the Kingdom of God.
A missional church seeks to put the good of their neighbor over their own.
A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness.
A missional church practices hospitality by welcoming the stranger into the midst of the community.
A missional church will see themselves as a community or family on a mission together. There are no "Lone Ranger" Christians in a missional church.
A missional church will see themselves as representatives of Jesus and will do nothing to dishonor his name.
A missional church will be totally reliant on God in all it does. It will move beyond superficial faith to a life of supernatural living.
A missional church will be desperately dependent on prayer.
A missional church gathered will be for the purpose of worship, encouragement, supplemental teaching, training, and to seek God's presence and to be realigned with his God's missionary purpose.
A missional church is orthodox in its view of the Gospel and Scripture, but culturally relevant in its methods and practice so that it can engage the world view of the hearers.
A missional church will feed deeply on the scriptures throughout the week so they are always ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why they're living the way they are.
A missional church will be a community where all members are involved in learning to be disciples of Jesus. Growth in discipleship is an expectation.
A missional church will help people discover and develop their spiritual gifts and will rely on gifted people for ministry instead of talented people.
A missional church is a healing community where people carry each other's burdens and help restore gently.
What Missional Church is Not
A missional church is not a dispenser of religious goods and services or a place where people come for their weekly spiritual fix.
A missional church is not a place where mature Christians come to be fed and have their needs met.
A missional church is not a place where professionals are hired to do the work of the church.
A missional church is not a place where the professionals teach their children and youth about God.
A missional church is not a church with a "good missions program." The people are the missions program and includes going to "Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
A missional church is not missional just because it is contemporary, young, hip, postmodern-sensitive, seeker-sensitive or even traditional.
A missional church is not about big programs and organizations to accomplish God's missionary purpose. This does not imply no program or organization, but that they will not drive mission. They will be used in support of people on mission.
A missional church is not involved in political party activism, either on the right or left. As Brian McLaren recently wrote, we need “purple peoplehood — people who don't want to be defined as red or blue, but have elements of both.
What Missional Church Looks Like
JR Woodward at Dream Awakener has a perspective on success that really helps my understanding of missional. His post "A Working Definition of Success" provides a working definition of what missional might look like. Here it is:
Not simply how many people come to our church services, but how many people our church serves.
Not simply how many people attend our ministry, but how many people have we equipped for ministry.
Not simply how many people minister inside the church, but how many minister outside the church.
Not simply helping people become more whole themselves, but helping people bring more wholeness to their world. (i.e. justice, healing, relief)
Not simply how many ministries we start, but how many ministries we help.
Not simply how many unbelievers we bring into the community of faith, but how many ‘believers' we help experience healthy community.
Not simply working through our past hurts, but working alongside the Spirit toward wholeness.
Not simply counting the resources that God gives us to steward, but counting how many good stewards are we developing for the sake of the world.
Not simply how we are connecting with our culture but how we are engaging our culture.
Not simply how much peace we bring to individuals, but how much peace we bring to our world.
Not simply how effective we are with our mission, but how faithful we are to our God.
Not simply how unified our local church is, but how unified is "the church" in our neighborhood, city and world?
Not simply how much we immerse ourselves in the text, but how faithfully we live in the story of God.
Not simply being concerned about how our country is doing, but being concern for the welfare of other countries.
Not simply how many people we bring into the kingdom, but how much of the kingdom we bring to the earth.