‘Mission’, ‘missionary’, ‘missional’. I can imagine that if I taught at an art college I’d spend a lot of time asking students, ‘what is art?’. Well, teaching at Redcliffe College, one of only two specifically mission-training colleges in the UK, causes me to ask the ‘mission’ question of myself and students on a regular basis.
I’ve been reading Michael Goheen‘s new book, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story. Here’s how he
approaches the term ‘missional’:
The employment of the term “missional” includes the superficial along with the profound, the culturally captive alongside the richly biblical. But the popularity of “missional” language suggests that something has struck a chord with many Christians…
At its best, “missional” describes not a special activity of the church but the very essence and identity of the church as it takes up its role in God’s story in the context of its culture and participates in God’s mission to the world. This book is an attempt to describe “mission” as the role and identity of the church in the context of the biblical story.
So, Goheen is saying that whatever activities we may label as ‘missional’ are all secondary and subsidiary to the missional identity of the church in our participation in God’s mission.