[featured_image]For my doctoral dissertation on Missional Transformation, I provided a glossary of key terms. I hope that posting it here will be helpful to those who are joining in the missional conversation. Please give feedback on terms and ideas – those with which you agree or disagree.


APEPT—Term used to describe the fivefold ministry formula found in Ephesians 4. APEPT is an acrostic for Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher.

Attractional—A “come and hear” model of ministry that includes inviting non-Christians to come to church to hear the gospel

Attractionalism—The belief that creating an appealing church service and programs will attract unbelievers to come to church

Christocentric—Christ at the center; if something is Christocentric, then its organizing principle is the person and work of Christ

Church Planting Movements (CPM)—A rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment

Circle of Accountability—The concept of a specific target area for which each believer, church or district will take responsibility before God to bring the gospel of grace to every man, woman, and child. Defining this area geographically will act as a weight on one’s conscience and a forceful reminder of the responsibility to reach the circle with the gospel. The primary effect of defining this circle is to continually focus hearts, minds, activities, and resources outside the church into the circle around it.

Clericalism—An unhealthy dependence on professional clergy (trained and paid) to teach the Bible, serve the church, and meet the needs of the faith community

Communitas—Describes that unique experience of togetherness which happens only among a group of people inspired by the vision of a better world actually attempting to do something about it

Consumerism—The belief by many Christians that the church exists to serve them

Contextualization—The embodiment of the living Word in human cultural and social settings in such a way that its divine nature and power are not lost

DNA—The building blocks that determine the structure, strength, vitality, and reproductivity within every cell of a human body; missional DNA compels spiritual growth within every follower of Jesus and is summarized by Neil Cole and Paul Kaak to include: Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships, and Apostolic Mission.

Duplicitism—The failure of leaders who keep telling people to do what they are not doing themselves. It means the exact same thing as hypocrisy.

Ecclesiology—Refers to the biblical teaching about the Church

Ecclo-centric—Centered on the church; see internalism.

Edificialism—A preoccupation with property and buildings

Emerging Church Movement (ECM)—Twenty-first century Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. Their acceptance of diversity and reliance on open dialogue rather than the dogmatic proclamation found in historic Christianity leads emergents to diverse beliefs and moral expressions

Evangelical—Christians who believe in the authority of the Bible, salvation through faith in Jesus, and life transformation

Extractionalism—Moving new Christians out of relationship with non-believers in the culture in order to foster new relationships almost exclusively within the church

Harvest Force—Describes the people who are already identified as an active part of a local Christian Community.

Harvest Field—Describes the people within a specific region who are not identified as active in a local Christian Community.

Incarnational—A missional approach that seeks to infiltrate the surrounding culture by embodying the mission of message of Jesus in tangible ways

Infantilism—The inability of a Christian to spiritually feed oneself, resulting in an unhealthy dependence on supplemental nourishment from pre-digested food (sermons, books, study guides, etc.

Internalism—Focusing internally on ministry to the church members to the exclusion of focusing externally on reaching the harvest.

koinoniaGreek word describing “fellowship.

Leadership Farm System—A system of leadership development in the local church that focuses on raising leaders from the harvest for the harvest

Liminality—Applies to that situation where people find themselves in an in-between, marginal state in relation to the surrounding society, a place of danger, struggle, and disorientation

Marginalized—Moved from the center, or centralized role. When referring to the Church, it refers to having lost its social location at the center of culture

Mega-ism—Applied to a church and specifically its leaders, it describes the obsession with size as the measure of a successful church or ministry.

Missio Dei—“The sending of God” (Latin); means that the mission of the Church finds the ground of its existence and its limits in God’s mission. The phrase was coined in 1934 by German missiologist, Karl Hartenstein.

Missional—An adjective that describes being sent to embody the mission and message of Jesus everywhere

Missional Church—A sent church which intentionally pursues the mission of Jesus for His glory among all peoples by engaging the culture with the gospel

Missional Movements—The acceleration of missional activity that results in the multiplication of disciples and churches all over the place.

Missional Orientation—The degree to which a Christ-follower demonstrates behaviors consistent with embodying the mission and message of Jesus.

Missional Transformation—A process of aligning a believer or church with the redemptive mission of Jesus

Missionary—One sent on a mission; every Christian is a missionary, sent by Jesus into the culture with the gospel

Movement—The rapid acceleration or multiplication of disciples and churches.

Multi-site—The concept of one church meeting in multiple locations; typically it means more than one worship venue, more than one campus, or a combination of both

Organic Church—the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet

Parachurch Ministry—A Christian non-profit agency that conducts a specific ministry in a way that complements and strengthens the work of local churches.

People group—An ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members (common history, customs, family, language, self-name, as well as marriage rules and covenants). For strategic purposes, a people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering significant barriers of understanding

Unchurched—Identifies those who are not an active part of a local church family

Unreached—Describes an individual (or group of people) who has not understood the gospel, believed it, and committed to propagating it. Within evangelical circles, an unreached people group is a group whose population is less than 2 percent evangelical Christian.