4 Popular Perspectives on Church in the Last 50 Years (and How the Term “Missional” Fits In)

A pastor friend sent me an e-mail yesterday asking for some guidance with a missional book  reading list by Sentralized. As I typed a response, I sent him a chapter that puts “missional” in perspective of how we think about church. I wanted to make that chapter available to you for free.

Here is a chart that the chapter is based on (from page 29 of Church Unique). As I addressed church vision and model-making in 2007, I felt that church leaders needed a thoughtful and simple critique of the Church Growth Movement. Most importantly, I thought they needed a baseline understanding of “missional” and what it means for culture-shaping and vision-casting today. In fact, one of the final possible titles for the book was “Missional Vision.” But we decided to introduce “missional” in the subtitle instead.

You should read this chapter if you:

  • Want a simple definition and explanation of what “missional” means
  • Cut your teeth on ministry within the Church Growth Movement
  • Get confused by all of the category complexity in labeling church stuff
  • Think the idea of “ministry vision” is tainted today
  • Enjoy tension in talking about church models
  • Wonder whether or not your church should be growing
  • Just love the topic of the missional church

FREE CHAPTER – This is Chapter 3 of Church Unique, entitled “The Iniquity of Church Growth”-  Chapter 3: ChurchGrowth vs. Missional

If you find the chapter helpful, please let the folks at Sentralized know. Maybe they will add it to their list.

QUESTION: Let me know the single most helpful book you read in understanding the missional church. I’ll tell you mine in a follow-up post.

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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