Test Your Church

Test Your Church October 18, 2012

The questions are these: Is your church missional? How would you know? What are the elements that prove a church is missional?

Lots of folks claim the word “missional.” Some claim it with a robust theology — John Franke, Darrell Guder, David Fitch — while others claim the word who are little more than disaffected evangelicals burnt out on the megachurch or evangelical church. I joked the other day with David Fitch that some in the missional movement are more or less the libertarians (or anarchists) of the evangelicals. Some know far more what they are against than what they are for. I have said this before, I’ll say it again: when it comes to “missional” my ears are attuned not to those who talk about it but to those who are doing it. And doing it well. In other words, some in the missional movement are just carping about evangelicalism and not doing much to show a better way. Enough of that point.

Graham Hill, in the best book yet on missional ecclesiology, a book called Salt, Light, and a City, sketches how major theologians — across the whole spectrum — understand the church. Into that discussion Hill proposes what I will call some tests for your church to see if it is “missional.” What would you add? What are the key elements of a missional church?

1. Is your church “on mission”? I don’t mean does it have a missional statement, but is it really “on mission”? Or, put differently, does the church itself — pervasively — see itself as a church active in its mission?

2. Is it committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the reliability and authority of Christian Scriptures? (p. 164).

3. Is it a church that embodies a contrast society? Or, from the other angle, is it worldly? Or, is it a sign of the kingdom?

4. Is it cultivating missional perspectives and postures? Or, does it see itself as part of post-Christendom or Christendom? Does it assume viability or does it need to prove itself?

5. Is it a “model” of what God is doing in this world? In other words, is your church being the church?

6. Is it hospitable?

7. Is it disciple-making?

8. Is it prophetic?

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