Perry Noble Observation

From Christian Post:

Is there more to say here? Like, If you are wondering if your church is missional maybe it is because it’s not?

So we’ve got a good question: fill in the blank: “Your church is missional if it __________.”

If you are the pastor/church leader who is running around declaring that your church is “missional,” then there’s a good shot your probably not.

Before you get angry let me ask a few questions…

Does Martha Stewart have to declare she is a good cook?
Does Drew Brees have to declare that he is a good quarterback?
Does Taylor Swift have to declare that she can sing?
Does Lebron James have to declare he can dunk a basketball?
Does B.B. King have to declare that he can play the blues?
Does John Grisham have to declare that he can write fiction really well?

The answer to these questions is a BIG FAT NO!!! These people aren’t who they are because of what they are declaring, but rather because of what they are doing!!!

Anyone can declare that they can do something, but a really wise man (JESUS) once said that wisdom is proved right by actions (doing) and not merely by declaration! (That is my paraphrase of Matthew 11:19)

If you church is missional then you don’t have to tell anyone, the world already knows.


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  • I’m sorry Scot, but after keeping track of Perry for years, I’d have to offer this. Perry Noble expounding on “missional” is like me pontificating on the particular meaning of a Greek word. (Other than souvlaki, since I live in Toronto’s Greektown.) Make that a particular Greek word from the Scriptures.

  • Alex

    I don’t keep up on Noble, but I did read the article. He nowhere claims there to have a missional church. I know that my local congregation has a new ‘missional’ vision…but it is far from living it….

  • I admittedly have little affection for Mr. Noble and his methods, but I think this is a good word. Whether he or his church is missional or not, I do see quite a bit of truth in what he is saying here. Rather than constantly talking about being ‘missional’ or asking the question of what being ‘missional’ is…perhaps we should just go out and look like Jesus to our communities and the world around us. Just a thought.

  • Richard

    Meh… maybe the reason we’re saying it isn’t to prove it to outsiders but to help form our people for discipleship…

  • Rick

    Richard #4 has a great point. For a church culture that has just been inward and/or attractional focused, training a church to be missional, including using the word, is needed.

  • I think Richard (#4)is right. We could replace “missional” with any of the other terms we use to help “brand” or identify the direction in which we are headed. By the way, Martha, Taylor, Drew, B.B. and John G, all participate in systems that recognize them through awards as the best in their respective fields. They also label and brand themselves with things like “legendary blues man” or “best selling novelist” or “grammy winning artist”.

    I agree with the overall point that we need to talk less and do more but the analogy is lame.

  • Alan K

    Is not the mere existence of a church missional? And that if a church fails to live its identity that its lampstand will be removed and will no longer exist?

  • Joseph

    Richard #4. That’s exactly why we use the term. We’re only 10 months old, a church plant, and we’re wanting to help define ourselves to each other and describe who we want to be and what we want to be about. We have moments where the word need not be used as right there in front of us we have actually examples of ‘missional living’ and ‘missional community.’ Then on other occasions it’s a helpful value to check into and assess what we are doing.

  • Joseph

    Richard #4 – Joseph #8

    We use the term in amongest this blurb that is part vision part value and hopefully formative in our communty.

    3. We scatter as a church community.

    As well as looking forward to gathering as a church we also look forward to scattering as a church. We embrace the challenge of living as image bearers, as those that bear witness to the reality of God in the nooks and crannies of everyday life. We are representatives of grace in our work places, where we study, in sports teams, to the stranger, in our various friendship circles; everywhere and anywhere life takes us. We understand we are called to be the church Monday through Saturday, to at times shine boldly as a light and to at times flavour subversively as salt the world around us, with creative and authentic proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. St Luke’s does not exist as an escape from the world but rather as a community empowered by the Holy Spirit that is sent into the world. Our challenge is to build webs of loving, authentic and meaningful relationship with people of all shapes and sizes, each with their own interests and worldview, and with the help of the Holy Spirit to humbly point them towards Jesus. We rejoice that in Jesus Christ the new order of the kingdom of God’s love has intersected the old order of our existence in this world. We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is at work to bring into completion God’s purposes in the creation of the world. The Holy Spirit is redeeming, liberating and renewing all things in line with the Kingdom of God and under the kingly reign of God in Christ Jesus. We accept the invitation of Jesus to be a part of the mission of God in the world.

    This doesn’t mean adopting a particular program or organizing a particular event for our community. It means embracing missional living as a lifestyle. It’s about zooming in and being sensitive to what the Holy Spirit maybe doing in someone’s life and having the faith to participate in this. It’s about zooming out and appreciating God’s heart for justice and our role as Christ followers to stand for justice in the world. Missional living means living with an appreciation of God’s life changing work in the here and now as well as living in anticipation of and in the light of the coming reality of God’s new creation. Missional is also about proximity, it’s a choice to live near to and aware of the hurt and brokenness in our world, and in meaningful relationship not only with other Christ followers but with friends not remotely interested in anything to do with God. It’s not just an idea, it’s tangible acts of love, of kindness, of thoughtfulness and of inclusion. Missional living is about engaging ourselves in the life of our local community, immersing ourselves in and understanding our cultural context while living faithful to the biblical story. It’s about building friendships and networks of relationships. Then within all of this it is the ability to genuinely be salt that flavours the world, boldly loving as well as strongly but humbly critiquing that which is sinful and counter to the way of the Kingdom.

  • Your church is missional if it is making disciples!
    (Anything else, it is failing miserably, no matter how successful it appears.)

  • I don’t know Perry Noble, but the question has an interesting kernel of truth…as to whether “the world already knows”, I would contest that part: that asserted understanding of “the world” is far more complex.

  • Jesse

    This sounds like the logical end of what Noble and others in his camp constantly decry: ideas (or doctrines) expressed in words. For them, it’s all about action (and apparently action without definition).

    It’s a double-edged sword, really. The seeker-friendly movement decided to get rid of Christian language (including all of it’s stuffy doctrine) and now it’s pretty hard to discern their Christian church service from a motivational speaking event.


  • Matt Edwards

    1. You balance kingdom proclamation and kingdom living.
    2. The language of your proclamation is contextualized to your local community.
    3. You spend as much time, money, and effort developing those traditionally considered “reached” as you do trying to grow your church. (You’re not just trying to get people to pray a prayer and get dunked, but to become followers of Jesus.)
    4. Your stories, symbols, and values reflect a concern for the transformation of the community, not just expansion of your tribe.
    5. You are intentional about taking your faith outside of the walls of your church building.
    6. Your pastor’s favorite authors are Michael Frost, NT Wright, and Alan Hirsch.

  • Dan

    I understand his concern – as I do think there are churches who use “missional” as their descriptive and when I began probing and asking about new disciples being made (those who were not Christians and then placed faith in Jesus) in these churches – it was a very, very low if not any response. Missional meant living in Christian community or building Habitat For Humanity homes and then it was labelled missional, without seeing evangelism as part of what missional meant.

    Having said that, on Perry’s blog he writes “Leadership, Vision, Creativity” as the descriptive to what his blog is. So you can turn that around and say he must not be a leader or creative or have vision if he has to label himself that way on his blog with big words under his name.

  • Brian C

    “Your church is missional if it __________.”

    Lives out the Great Commission as it best understands it in their church culture and lives to give glory to God in the process. It matters not what others think is missional and before judging someone else’s missionality you had been check your own. There’s that judging thing ya know.

  • Years ago I worked as a professional photographer. In one of the magazines a marketing guru was asked (not by me) “Should I use the title “Professional Photographer””? The answer was “Chances are if have have to use the term, you’re trying to convince yourself that you are. Your work should speak for itself”. In my opinion too many churches try to market themselves instead of just doing what churches should be doing.

  • While there is no guarantee that calling oneself missional makes it so, the logic that calling ones church as such disqualifies it is ridiculous. Noble calls himself a pastor, a man, a husband. Does declaring it so make it true or untrue? Of course not! Yes, how we live is important, but he loses me with the statement: “If you are the pastor/church leader who is running around declaring that your church is “missional,” then there’s a good shot your probably not.”

  • Fish

    There’s also an aspect of self-fulfilling prophecy. If you want any person or organization to be more “X” then start creating that reality by using words that become flesh. Otherwise you are driving by looking in your rearview mirror.