I guess it is a relative new term describing a methodology in engaging the culture around us. If a church is labeled a missional church, would the connotation be good or bad, or is it just neutral depending on who is using the term.
My guess is that it would depend on how they went about this.
Are they proclaiming the whole Gospel, or are they trying to dress the Gospel up to make it palatable to the world around them?
I prefer a Church that tries to provide outlets for ministry to its members. This can be in the form of helping the needy or other avenues such as what I have been involved in like coffee ministries.
I used to meet with a group of men, for both fellowship and talking about the Gospel with the focus of mentoring men. Sometimes this was also a springboard into helping people in their various needs, such as anything from moving to providing someone with a meal.
"Missional" is often the description of people like Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller. Basically, they try to engage the culture by taking on the supposedly "non-sinful" parts of it. I don't know about Keller's ministry, but I can say that Driscoll's potty mouth is most assuredly sinful.
Like Marie and Tom, I would agree that the propriety of "missional" living is in the way it is carried out. My church is heavily focused on missional living, but it's end is to carry the Gospel to the people. Actions such as short and long-term mission trips, community activism, community Bible studies, support for missionaries, and the like, are activities carried out under the banner of missional living.
I think some groups have taken that to mean presenting a watered-down, easy to listen to Gospel. Those ideas are not missional, but rather varieties of the many false-prophets with which we must continue to counter with the Truth.
Andy and others,
Thanks for the thoughts.
So for those who are using 'missional' in a Scriptural way, what word is 'missional' replacing as it is Christianity practiced?
To some degree it's almost replacing evangelism (the word, not the practice). Maybe, maybe not... It is more under the umbrella of evangelism than a wholesale replacement of the term, but if I had to pin it down, i would place it there. While not really books on 'missional living', Scott Roley's book God's Neighborhood and its forthcoming follow-up Hard Bargain are good books on a single journey into that realm.