[featured_image]Here is my dissertation abstract:
There are a growing number of missional churches and missional leaders who are overcoming multiple obstacles to missional activity and seeking to return to the mission of the Church by modeling missional behaviors and mobilizing every believer as missionaries. However, the absence of more missional churches, missional leaders, and missional movements in America must be addressed.
There must be a return to the missionary nature of the Church. The biblical understanding of the Church as “sent ones” is foundational to its mission (John 20:21). The mission of Jesus to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10) is the mission of every believer. Jesus sent His followers into the world as the Father sent Him. By examining the New Testament, we see that the Church is not a physical place or destination, but the Church is people—every believer together sent by Jesus with the gospel to the culture
Throughout the book of Acts, the Church is seen as the people of God “on mission”—sent by Jesus with the gospel in community to the culture!
Essentially, the Church is a missionary Church! The Church is sent by Jesus! The Church is proclaiming the gospel! The Church is making disciples! The Church is on mission!
Churches need to abandon those beliefs and practices of that hinder the expansion of the kingdom. Churches in America must no longer measure success by size, must no longer be preoccupied with buildings and property, must no longer focus on Christian education without emphasizing life transformation, must no longer focus on the Church instead of the harvest, and must no longer depend on professional clergy to do the work of ministry, discipleship, and evangelism. Instead, they must train every member to engage those in the culture with the gospel.
For many Christians in America, a process of Missional Transformation is necessary prior to fully aligning themselves with Jesus mission. This process includes:
1. Adopting Missional Thinking and Behavior
2. Removing Obstacles to Missional Activit
3. Seizing the Mission of Jesus as Your Ow
4. Exegeting the Culture around Yo
5. Incarnating the Gospel
6. Multiplying Disciple
7. Equipping Disciplemaking Missionarie
8. Mobilizing Missional Leader
9. Establishing Missional Communities/Churches
10. Fueling Missional Movement
All missional movements start with God because mission flows from God. God is a missionary God and He has sent the Church to participate in His mission of reconciling the world to Himself. That mission is the purpose of the Church on this earth, and the message is the good news of the kingdom. Missional activity encompasses the redemptive mission of Jesus.
Missional Movements are a result of the acceleration of missional activity which escalates the multiplication of disciples and churches all over the place. Fueling movements requires identifying what God is already doing to advance His kingdom, faithfully submitting to His will, and discovering ways to align with the mission and message of Jesus. The transformation of America will happen as individual believers and churches, which possess everything pertaining to life and godliness to fulfill Jesus’ mission, are unleashed.
As a case study, the Missionary Church Western District has invested time, energy, and resources to multiply churches and extend the kingdom over the past twenty years. However, research indicates that greater intentionality needs to focus on increasing missional activities if MCWD churches and leaders are going to truly embody the mission and message of Jesus. Pastors and local church leaders must see themselves as missionaries in their community and must model missional behaviors in their neighborhoods before they can expect believers in their churches to engage those in the culture around them with the gospel.
For the Church of Jesus Christ to fulfill its mission there must be missionary movements. America will be transformed when Christians everywhere align with the mission of Jesus and incarnationally display and proclaim the gospel in their zip code.