Coram Deo is a missional church. As such, we talk a lot about the mission of God, about our identity as His missionaries or “sent ones,” and about what it means to live on mission. But sometimes when I stop and listen, I’m frustrated with all this missional talk. Using the word “missional” doesn’t make us good missionaries.
People around Coram Deo talk about “being missional,” which usually gets identified with DOING something (taking care of my neighbor’s kids, hosting parties in my neighborhood, helping at the homeless shelter, etc). But NONE of these things are truly missional unless 1) they are driven out of a missionary heart which truly longs to see God’s name honored and Jesus Christ worshiped; and 2) their end goal is to share the gospel and make disciples.
All kinds of good moral people do good moral things. That’s not mission. Christ-honoring missionaries do things with gospel intentionality because they want to infiltrate a people group, pray fervently for God to be glorified within it, and see disciples made within it.
The best way to think about “being missional” is to think about what “being a missionary” would look like outside of your own culture. What if your missional community were a church-planting team in Zimbabwe? What would you do? Answer: you would start small. You would not speak wistfully of vague and lofty goals like “transforming Zimbabwe by the power of the gospel.” Rather, you would identify a specific people or place within Zimbabwean culture, and you would start there. You would get to know actual people. You would become familiar with a particular area of a particular city. You would seek to pray and work and love and serve in order to see people trust Jesus so that an indigenous church could be birthed there. Then you’d do the same thing in other places, and train others to do it as well.
Now: apply that same thinking to your own culture. Because of the gospel, you are a missionary. Your paycheck may come from Paypal or Union Pacific or Starbucks, but your mission comes from the Lord Jesus. You are on a mission team with some others – a missional community, we call it. Your goal is to make disciples of a specific people, in a specific place – to see an indigenous church birthed there. If your missional community is focused on a neighborhood, then your end goal is to see a church birthed in that neighborhood made up of people who live in that neighborhood and are worshiping Jesus and reaching others in that neighborhood. (Of course that’s going to start with a missional community made up of people from that neighborhood). This is the purpose for which you exist. “We’re here to make disciples of this people.”
If you’re “being missional” but no one is hearing the gospel, no one is asking about Jesus, no one is becoming a disciple… then whose mission are you on?