Practices of Missional Spirituality

The first missional theologian in the church — after the resurrection — may have been James who had to poke the messianists of his community in the eyes and thump a bit on their chests with words that said believing is not enough; you must be doers. Faith without works, he said, is deader than Marley’s door-knocker. And the church has a history of missional revivals, and by this I mean the expression of God’s love by loving others in concrete deeds.

Where do you see “missional spirituality” best? What person or church or group does missional spirituality well?

The issue, as Len Hjamarlson and Roger Helland sketch in their Missional Spirituality book, is becoming and being missional — the issue is not knowing missional and believing in missional but doing missional. So they propose, over the span of several chapters, practices of missional spirituality. Here they are:

1. Practicing union with Christ: abiding in Christ is what discipleship is all about. Focus on John 15:1-17.

2. Practicing obedience: “the spiritual life is the surrendered life.”

3. Practicing humility.

4. Practicing missio reading and prayer. Not just prayer that fosters intimacy but prayer that fosters love for others, the Jesus Creed.

5. Practicing worship. The problem is defective views of God; we need an expansive sense of God’s grandeur and majesty and glory.

6. Practicing enchantment. Attentiveness to God’s handiwork.

7. Practicing Christ-mindedness.

8. Practicing faith-thinking. This is about theological reflection to learn to think our way into the goodness and glory of God and what God is doing in this world. Theological imagination can be developed.

9. Practicing gratitude.

10. Then a series on “From all your strength”: practicing treasure-talents-time, loving God from our treasure, loving God from our talents, and loving God from our time.

11. Practicing loving your neighbor: by practicing presence, by practicing refuge, and by practicing hospitality.

Missional spirituality, which becomes the “gospel of you,” is sacramental: it graces others.

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