"Missional" has become a big buzz word recently. We've started using it a lot around here (and lots of other churches in America and around the world have too). But along with the words popularity has come some ambiguity as to what it means exactly. It's important to understand exactly what "missional" means if we are supposed to be missional people.
One common misunderstanding with the word "missional" is the idea that being missional is something we go and do; we're are being missional when we are out there helping someone or sharing the gospel. This is true - we are being missional when we do these things. But that isn't all that being missional means.
We are called to be missional people, and if being missional means going out and doing "stuff", then that would mean we are only living up to our calling when we are doing things. How exhausting and impossible would that make being missional people?
It's important that we understand that the word missional means "sent". We are supposed to be sent people. And there are three important aspects of being sent that I think are important to keep in mind and direct us as missional people.
1.) WE ARE SENT BY SOMEONE. Our God is a missional God - he is a sending God. He sent Jesus into the world to redeem us and Jesus in turn has sent us. We live missionally (sent) by living for God's redemptive mission, following the example of Jesus, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do life in constant conversation with the one who sent us, through His Word and prayer. John 20:21.
2.) WE ARE SENT WITH SOMEONE. The church - the people God has redeemed and then sent - is to be God's missional agent in the world. We aren't to be sent alone, but with a community of other sent people living for God's mission in the world. Held together by a common mission, we work alongside one another (the church) to see the glory of God made known to those we are sent to. Ephesians 3:10.
3.) WE ARE SENT TO SOMEONE. As sent people, we are to be reaching out to a lost world, demonstrating and declaring the kingdom of God right where we are to the people around us. Our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors - we are where we are so that we can be a living message to the people in our lives. Acts 17:26-27.