(A working understanding of the word “Missional” from Brad Brisco)
…the word “missional,” when properly applied is helpful. The word is simply the adjective form of the noun “missionary.” It is used to describe the church as a people who think and act as missionaries, actively participating in God’s mission.
At the core of the missional conversation is the idea that a genuine missional impulse is a sending one. We should be sending the people in the church out among the people of the world, rather than attempting to attract the people of the world in among the people in the church. This is a necessary distinction because most people do not think of the church in sending, missionary terms. Instead many Christians today understand the church from two primary perspectives.
Some define the church as a place where certain things happen. They usually identify marks of the church that include the right preaching of the Word, the right administration of the ordinances and the proper exercise of church discipline. The church, therefore, is defined primarily as a place where a person goes to hear the Bible taught, to participate in the Lord’s Supper and baptism and, in some cases, experience church discipline.
Others view the church as “a vendor of religious goods and services.” From this perspective, members are viewed more as customers for whom the religious goods and services are produced. Churchgoers expect the church to provide a wide range of religious services such as great worship music, children’s programs, small groups, parenting seminars, etc.