First of all, I want to clarify that I desire to be missional. As a matter of fact, if I was looking for a church to attend with my family, I would attend the missional church that is was capable of teaching the Word of God while striving to be missional. In other words, there needs to be a good balance between missional and teaching God’s Word. This means that one should not exist without the other.
I am a Wesleyan pastor. So if you are reading this article you should be aware that I am coming from a Wesleyan point of view. Although, I do not claim that we Wesleyans have a lock on theology and are the only people who are right, I do, personally, feel more comfortable with the Wesleyan point of view. Here is web site that you can see what we believe theologically compared to our Calvinist brothers.
Anyway, theology between the camps is not really what I want to discuss. I would rather hear both views about whether or not we can teach churches and people to be missional or if we must be surrendered completely to Christ to be missional. In other words, do we have to be full of the Spirit in such a way that we cannot help but be missional?
- From a Wesleyan theological point of view if we are Sanctified (Full of the Spirit and God’s love), do we need to be taught how to be missional? If we have surrendered to Jesus Christ and asked HIm to come into our hearts so that He can be Lord of our life, and sought victory over our sinful nature, then He has filled us with the Spirit. This would mean that we now have the nature of Christ in us and that our motives and desires have truly been changed. If this is so, then we would instinctively know to be those who are sent to take the Gospel of Christ into the world.
- If we are Sanctified, then we have a natural love for God, others, and ourselves now. This would mean that we are free from the bondage of selfishness so that we can give with great joy in our hearts to those who have needs. We would not have to check the Sermon on the Mount because we would be living it. It seems that if there are people and churches who are not living this way that there might be a spiritual problem. If there is a spiritual problem, then are we really doing any good to teach people how to be missional?
- I hope this is wrong, but is the desire to be missional driven by the fact this type of Christ-living grows churches numerically and financially? The danger in teaching others to be missional, and in people seeking to learn to be missional, is that we are only trying to appear to be something that we truly are not inwardly. Again, if we have the nature of Christ now, then we are going to be missional because that is what we are now. Why? Because Jesus is.
- To me, being missional is finding what upsets you in your community. Once you find it, because of the love that you have for God and others, you will decide if it is something that only Jesus can fix. If it is, then that is when His people spring into action. If it is a church body, then they will all know what is expected of them if most are truly sold out to Jesus Christ.
- If we are not really Spirit led, of full of the Spirit, then when we seek to be missional can it just be classified as a social gospel? Frankly, if we are not really surrendered to Christ, then we are merely taking part in community action that mirrors the governments purpose for community action.
To my Wesleyan brothers and sisters: if you are trying to learn how to be missional, then have you forgotten your first love? Our denomination was a movement first before it was a denomination. When we were a movement, we were missional! We were a movement because of our love for God and others. We saw the world as a realm that needed delivered from the bondage of sin by our Savior. Freedom was always at the forefront when it came to slavery and sin. We helped to stop slavery, and for a while, we were used by the Holy Spirit to preach deliverance from sin ruling over us. Now, we go to seminars and buy books to learn how to used by God. It is time for us to surrender again to God’s will and seek to join Him in the work He is taking part in. Yet, to see God’s work taking place would mean that we have to go out into the lowly places to help Him. We can’t go until we love Him and others.
One last word, I do not wish to say that we should not buy books and go to seminars. My wish is that everyone would see that we must be sold-out to Christ to be truly missional. I have been accused of being unteachable in the past because I was not gushing over reading books by those who are current. Wow! I do read some. Yet, knowledge is knowledge. But, love is what spurs us.