Alan Hirsch & A Working Definition of “Missional”

I’m so glad that Alan Hirsch has provided a working definition of “missional,” reinvesting it with deeper meaning in order to communicate better the nature and the purpose of the Church: “So a working definition of missional church is that it is a community of God’s people that defines itself, and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of God’s mission to the world…. The Church itself is not only a product of that mission, but is obligated and destined to extend it by whatever means possible.

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The term “missional” has become another trendy term in western Christianity. That’s so unfortunate, because the term originated with such wonderful meaning and intention. Now it’s simply a floppy word for evangelism, outreach and church growth and used by a lot of churches because it’s trendy. In fact, a church that is missional in the truest sense of the term, probably wouldn’t even call itself missional.I’m so glad that Alan Hirsch has provided a working definition of “missional,” reinvesting it with deeper meaning in order to communicate better the nature and the purpose of the Church:

“So a working definition of missional church is that it is a community of God’s people that defines itself, and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of God’s mission to the world. In other words, the Church’s true and authentic organizing principle is mission. When the church is in mission, it is the true Church. The Church itself is not only a product of that mission, but is obligated and destined to extend it by whatever means possible. The mission of God flows directly through every believer and every community of faith that adheres to Jesus. To obstruct this is to block God’s purposes in and through his people.”

2 thoughts on “Alan Hirsch & A Working Definition of “Missional”

  1. Jason,

    Thanks for this Hirsch quote. You reveal a painful reality–that the term “missional” has been co-opted to just be another word for outreach. Yet, that is our struggle: To come to grips with God’s mission in the world while struggling with our old modernist grids of interpretation.

    I appreciate how Alan links God’s mission in and the through the Christian community with that community’s “adherence to Jesus.” Oneness with God, spiritual formation and mission are all integrally intertwined, yes?

  2. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for commenting. You are certainly correct by stating that oneness with God, spiritual formation and mission are integrally intertwined. I find it a bit disheartening whenever a certain camp emphasizes one over the other. The Apostle Paul is clear that Christ’s mission was to reconcile all things on earth and heaven. That includes being made at one with God. And that is experienced through spiritual formation into real authentic Christlikeness. And our own reconciliation is contained in the larger story of our cooperative participation in Jesus’ ongoing mission of reconciling his Father’s creation.

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