Covenant Church Leadership Blog

3 Missional Culture Characteristics

We talk often about how we want to create a Missional culture. Many times we try and add some events to a calendar that are “Missional” or we read a few books to understand the missional life in a greater way. None of these things are bad, but they are incomplete. Missional is not something the church does, it is who we are.

Juergen Moltmann

It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.

The mission of the center of who God is and the church is the instrument he uses to fulfill his mission. For the church and for our communities to be faithful to what we are called to, we have to organize and operate our communities around the mission of God and not simply add missional programs to what we are doing.

JR Woodward

Creating a missional culture is more than just adding some outward programs to the church structure. Creating a missional culture goes to the heart and identity of God, to who we are and who we are becoming.

If we seek to create a missional culture, it is imperative that we understand that God created the church as a sign, foretaste, and instrument by which more of his kingdom would be realized here on earth.

This is how Woodard describes the church being a Sign, Foretaste, and Instrument in his book Creating a Missional Culture.

Sign: The church is to be a sign of God’s coming kingdom, pointing people to a reality that is right around the corner. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” We are called to be lights that point others toward God, his Son, and his future. So what kind of sign are we? What kind of sign do we want to become?

Foretaste: The church is called to be a foretaste of God’s kingdom, a place where people can get a taste of the future in the present. When the church is a foretaste, it demonstrates what life is like when men and women live under the rule and reign of God, when the people of God love one another, exhort one another, encourage one another, forgive one another and live in harmony with one another. In this way, the church becomes a concrete, tangible, though not perfect, foretaste of the kingdom that is to come.

Instrument: Creating a missional culture requires not only understanding that the church is called to be a sign and foretaste of God’s kingdom, but also an instrument. When writing to the church in Ephesus the apostle Paul talks about how the church is God’s chosen instrument to show the manifold wisdom and grace of God to both the visible and invisible world. He says, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3:10-11). We see throughout the letter to the Ephesians that the church is to be like a preview or movie trailer of what is to come. The church is an instrument through which God’s will for justice, peace, and freedom is done in the world.

As I am praying for each of you as leaders today and for our Missional Communities all throughout our area, I am praying that we really put on the mind of a missionary and ask these 3 questions:

  • Where are the lost around us?
  • What is the loss seeing in our community?
  • How can we get closer to the lost around us?

It is only when having the lost around us that they can see the people of God as a Sign, Foretaste, and Instrument!

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