What does a Missionalist Do?

To fully embody the mission of Jesus, Christians today need to experience Missional Transformation! This kind of transformation is all about discovering how to “be Jesus” to everyone around you. It requires abandoning those practices which inhibit the accomplishment of the Great Commission and adopting culturally relevant thinking and behaviors which will accomplish Jesus’ mission.

Here are several behaviors that a missionalist must demonstrate

  1. Seizing the Mission
  2. Adopting Missional Thinking and Behaviors
  3. Removing Obstacles to Missional Activity
  4. Exegeting the Culture
  5. Incarnating the Gospel: “Be Jesus”
  6. Multiplying Disciples
  7. Equipping Disciplemaking Missionaries
  8. Establishing Missional Communities/Churches
  9. Mobilizing Leaders
  10. Fueling Missionary Movements

Seize the Mission

The Church’s mission is to bear witness to God’s redemptive reign. In Matthew 28, Jesus gave His disciples His final instructions before leaving earth: “Go and make disciples.” The Church is sent into the world to continue the work which Jesus came to do (Luke 19:10). Every believer must seize the mission of Jesus as their own.

Adopt Missional Thinking and Behaviors

Every believer needs to think and act like a missionary. This requires significant changes in both thinking and behavior. To embody the mission and message of Jesus requires shifts in the way one relates to God, other believers and those who are lost without Christ. A missionalist sees what Jesus sees and does what Jesus does. A missionalist adopts thinking and actions that seek to accomplish Jesus’ mission.

Remove Obstacles

In order to accomplish the mission, Christians need to evaluate what is blocking the mission from being accomplished. By identifying missional barriers, believers can abandon ways of thinking and behaviors that prevent the kingdom from advancing. By taking steps to remove obstacles, more energy and resources can be directed toward the harvest and the task of multiplying disciplemakers. (I have identified fourteen of these obstacles which I will post in the future: consumerism, edificialism, infantilism, internalism, extractionalism, etc. However, I am certain that there are even more.)

Exegete the Culture

Believers must understand how the Word becomes flesh in their culture wherever they are. This perspective requires discovering the uniqueness of the neighborhood, community, city, and county where one lives. For example, people who live in Valencia, California are very different than those who live in Valencia, Spain. Missionalists seeking to embody the mission and message of Jesus where they live must exegete the culture

Incarnate the Gospel

Christians must live the gospel! It is not enough to articulate the truth of the gospel, although that is important. The truth of the gospel must be lived out in relationships as believers seek to “be Jesus” with skin on. Every Christian has been sent by Jesus in community together with other believers to be and then do the gospel and to show and then tell the gospel to those in the culture around them.

Multiply Disciples

The mission of the church is to make disciples (Matt 28:19–20). Multiplication doesn’t start with planting churches, it starts with multiplying disciples. Disciplemaking is the starting place for everything else. Every Christian must be involved in the multiplication process. This is not optional for the missionalist.

Equip Disciplemaking Missionaries

Traditionally, a missionary is “one who has been sent to a foreign land to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.” Since every believer is sent with the gospel to the surrounding culture, local churches need to become training centers that prepare every believer to be local missionaries sent to their own zip code. Embracing the mission locally requires an emphasis on reproducing disciplemakers all over the place.

Establish Missional Communities/Churches

When believers start planting the gospel in the culture, new churches will emerge. Churches are the result of effective evangelism and discipleship. The best method of church planting today is disciplemaking.

Mobilize Leaders

Churches need to form an enduring leadership culture that develops leaders who embrace missional behaviors and practices. To raise up leaders from the harvest for the harvest, a missionalist must build an intentional process for raising up more missional leaders.

Fuel Missionary Movements

Christianity is not a religion. It is a movement of Christ followers. In order to fuel movements to transform America, there must be an increased emphasis on the cross and incarnating the message of Jesus. Until believers start to embody the mission and message of Jesus, there will not be any movements.

A missionalist rejects the idea that the Great Commission is someone else’s responsibility. Instead, he or she aligns with Jesus’ mission in such a way to function as missionaries where they live, where they work and where they play.

Author

Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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