4. A Missional Church Contextualizes the Gospel
A missional church seeks to follow the example of Jesus, who is the greatest missionary ever to engage culture. Jesus left one culture and entered another. He participated wholeheartedly in the new culture he entered by using the language, sharing in various holidays, eating certain foods, enjoying various drinks, attending parties and befriending people, while never crossing a line into sin. Jesus set the perfect missionary example.
In the world of missiology, this is called contextualization. Contextualization is being aware of the cultural context around you. It is being aware of the lost people around you and making every effort to bring the love and truth of Jesus to them.
Now, don’t mistake or confuse contextualization with compromise. This isn’t the case at all. Contextualization is done “for the sake of the Gospel.” Contextualization is about making the church as culturally accessible as possible without compromising the truth of Christian belief. What is sought in this is timeless truth and timely methods. In other words, contextualization is not about making the Gospel relevant, but showing the relevance of the Gospel.
5. A Missional Church Loves Singles and Couples
On many church websites are photos of loving couples and families with children. Many churches promote their programs as being tailored to the whole family. In many churches nearly every leader at nearly every level of the organization is married. During most church services, the preacher’s points are all about how to improve one’s marriage and family.
A missional church knows most people are single and that most single people are not Christians. Missional churches gladly consider singles in everything they do in how they advertise and when they offer services.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you add a singles’ ministry to become missional. If anything, the addition of such a program may communicate that only married people are normal and that singleness is a stage of life that will be eventually grown out of, like puberty.
Don’t segregate singles out from the rest. Just be aware of what you’re communicating and what that says about singles. Does it include or exclude them?
6. A Missional Church Trains Christians and Missionaries
One of the ways a missional church seeks the glory of God is in the conversion of non-Christians. Too often, what is called a missional church is nothing more than a hip, trendy gathering of the disgruntled children of churches, where few if any true conversions and life transformations are experienced.
A missional church accepts its responsibility for being the primary vehicle God uses to be on mission with him in making disciples (Matt. 28:18–20). Missional churches love non-Christians and consider them in everything they do.
Members of missional churches are expected to serve on the frontlines of cultural missions. They are witnesses to the world about Jesus. Since they are on the front lines of ministry like Jesus, Christian members of missional churches are trained in hospitality, theology and apologetics so they can practice 1 Peter 3:15–16.
The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself.