What Does Missional Mean?, Week 7
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
The surveys are in. The numbers are down. Church is changing.
Within church walls the conversations center on what to do. How do we hang on? What has changed? Why do we gather for an hour one day a week to sing and listen to someone else talk?
The struggle between traditional and contemporary, conservative and liberal, truth traditions and syncretism has flattened the religious landscape into a binary system of zeros and ones.
The surveys are in. The numbers are down. Church must change.
Many Christians view the decline of Western Christendom with alarm, as if God had fallen from heaven. Enormous effort is put forth to launch church growth programs to shore up membership, increase giving, and keep denominational ships afloat. But the history of God’s people is a history of life cycles . . . Contrary to being a disaster, the exilic experiences of loss and marginalization are what are needed to restore the church to its evangelistic place. 
What does it mean to be missional?
To be missional means to be sent out in a new way. To be sent out in a glorious, uproarious, unforced way. To be sent out in joy choosing neither to hold truth nor authority tightly. To be missional means to choose “c.” To sit just a little longer, holding space for the other to share. To ask another question before deciding what to do. To trust in the process of the practice, so that increasingly one “holds loosely” all loves, with hands and heart. To hold loosely is to let go of fearful clutching and control, and is to set free that which is loved. 
Being missional means to take up the light way that Jesus offered to those who were done with choosing right or left, A or B, in or out. Instead of the burden of truth, Jesus offered the lightness and abundance of a way. A path. A journey.
Jesus offers another option, option C. The option of relinquishing your right to absolute certainty. The option of admitting failure. The option of the long-way-round.
Being missional is choosing C.
Elaine A Heath, The Mystic Way of Evangelism. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008)
Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
- The contemplative stance, according to Dr. Elaine A. Heath, is showing up, paying attention, cooperating with God, and releasing the outcome. How does the contemplative stance inform your Christian practice?
- How could the contemplative stance change how you see ministry?
- How is a contemplative stance different from apathy?
We asked what Missional meant to you. If you would like to share your definition of Missional, please take our survey. Here is one respondent's answer.
Thinking of others first, but in a healthy, full of life way.