Missional Church vs. A Church w/ A Mission

There is a diametrical difference between a "Missional Church" and a "Church with a Mission." A missional church is made of radically transformed individuals who express the love of Christ on a daily basis. They understand Christ's call to "take up their cross" and have a real burden for the many lost around them. (Luke 15) For them, great rejoicing comes, not from increased numbers but from one persons being transformed by the Holy Spirit. Pastors are coaches who enable these individual ministers to encourage, admonish, and strengthen the body of Christ.

A "Missional Church" can have a pipe organ or an Alternative Rock Worship band because the celebration is a result of the joy of witnessing those once lost becoming found. Those once dead, finding new life. A "Missional Church" doesn't look to program or style for effectiveness. This church relies on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. Biblical hunger drives the church more than program and finances.

Sadly, I'm afraid a vast majority of North American Church are "Churches with a Mission." The goal here is to sustain the organization for "God's sake." Kingdom effectiveness is measured by increased persons involved as well as financial resources collected. Vast sums of money are invested into property and buildings. Programs, which may have powerfully effected people 20 or 30 years ago, are maintained at great cost both in time and money. Participants spend countless hours attempting to make these "Ministries" relevant even as our culture totally ignores them. These churches are like Choirs, singing to themselves. Contemporary Christian radio stations broadcasting to the saved. Jesus left the 99 sheep to rescue the 1 lost sheep. "Churches with a Mission" believe that keeping the 99 sheep well fed, well organized, and unified will cause the lost sheep to find it's way back to the fold.

Pastors are burning out of pastoral ministry in alarming rates because in "Churches with a Mission," the flock are consumers feeding off the energy of the organization. Most of this energy is generated by the professional pastoral staff.

Missional Churches, however, have a majority of individuals with a conviction to minister the gospel where they live, work and play. Pastors become coaches, inspiring, challenging, and equipping persons to reach more of the lost around them. For a "Missional Church," the joy of the Lord becomes their strength. A joy which is energized each time a lost sheep is found, a lost coin is recovered, or a lost son returns home. Where they worship, what style they incorporate, or the numbers of participants is not that important.

By: Steve Shomo

"Intentional Influence" Who are we allowing to influence our lives?

The single most important thing in my life, over the past 2 years, has been who I intentionally allow to influence me. If I surround myself with people who have the same skill set, the same amount or less experience than I do, the same passions, the same knowledge, the same convictions, etc....then I limit my ability for God to teach me.

Currently I have an accountability partner who struggles with things that I am strong in and I struggle in things the he is strong in, this allows stern correction, strategic guidance, and honest prayer. Also, I have 3 people who I consider mentors all in which are people who I could call on any given day for any particular reason. All three of these people have different strengths, minor theological differences, gift sets, etc. I think that the more I broaden myself, the more God works in me.

Contemporary vs Traditional Styles

This was written by a family member that has childern about the same age as Beth and I. He is a faithful man of God and has some things to say about his generation and the generations after him. Please feel free to add anything to it or imput some thoughts.......

Human nature leads people to spend their time, money, and talents on things that are either fun or important (or in the best of circumstances, both). I think the younger generation has largely forsaken traditional churches because they are seen as neither fun nor important. I do not believe that the younger generation hates church; rather, they feel it is irrelevant.

Part of the problem is the message. Many churches, as you have pointed out in an earlier E-mail, essentially teach that being a Christian means obeying numerous rules that are mostly prohibitions against certain behaviors. Young people find that to be a major turn-off because they don't see the importance of trying to live in a straight jacket. Furthermore, they are skeptical about this "code of Christianity" because they see people in the church who pay lip service to these rules but don't actually follow many of them.

This is very analogous to the Pharisees in the time of Christ. They took the Ten Commandments and a handful of other instructions given to them by God and built a huge legal system that took all the joy out of serving God and imposed an impossible burden on those who tried to follow the rules. An even bigger part of the problem, I think, is that the worship style of the traditional church does not speak to the younger generation. They have grown up in an era of fast-paced, continuous sensory stimulation -- of television, movies, video games, cell phones, PDAs and theme parks. They find the traditional worship style boring, to put in bluntly. Pipe organs and classical anthems might as well be slide rules and buggy whips as far as they are concerned. The language of the church and the style of worship does not connect.

The interesting thing is that worship style and worship procedure is a creation of man -- not a mandate from God. In Jesus' time there were no pipe organs, grand pianos, acolytes, robed choirs, etc. All of that was introduced by people for the purpose of creating meaningful worship, and it reflected the highest ideals of the culture at the time these worship elements came into being. The culture has subsequently changed, but not the church.

The essentials of church are the message of the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ, ministering to the needs of the people, helping Christians grow spiritually, and providing opportunities for believers to live out their faith. Everything else is debatable and optional.

Ironically, the younger generation is interested in finding answers to life's tough questions: Why are we here? Is there a God, and if there is, can we know him? Where is life headed? What is our ultimate destiny? Are there moral standards that truly matter? But many traditional churches do not spend much time explicitly addressing these issues, and if they do address them, it is not in a language that can be understood by the younger generation.

Our traditional form of church does meet the needs of some -- generally those who are 40 years of age or older and who have grown up with a faith tradition. I am not advocating that all traditional churches should change their style and approach to worship and ministry. But clearly some non-traditional churches are also needed to reach younger persons who have no faith background. The success of Saddleback and Willow Creek demonstrate that if the message is delivered in the right way and if ministry is geared to those with limited faith backgrounds, they can be drawn to Christ -- and in large numbers.

Another Possible Name.

"Network" Community Church. It's kind of double meaning - because we would be literally networking, as the term means, but also "working the net" that God calls us to cast out. Still using the 'net' as in fishing, but also using a work that says something about the structure of the church. There could be many house groups to start, which is forming a network, or as the church grows it plants more churches and they become a network of churches.

"Netcast" Community Church. It comes out of Matthew 4 where Peter is casting his net to catch fish and Jesus rolls up and says, I'll make you fisher of men. Therefore we are a church that casts nets rather than moving fish.

Let us know what your thoughts are.

Church in the title.

The word "church" in the title of Netcast Community Church, here are some thoughts. I recentially read a study that stated culture today actually doesnt feel uncomfortable with the word "Church" in the church title. It actually makes the culture feel a little more comfortable knowing that it isn't some sort of a cult or weird religious organization. The thing that people feel more intimated about is a denomination's name in the church title. The study concluded that the word "Church" seemed to do more good than harm which was surprising to me, since we live in a culture that seems to hate the church.

Anyone have an opinion on this?

Religion is the enemy

It seems that in our area, most people have grown up in church and are what I would call "Religious" I would also state that the #1 enemy to Jesus right now is "Religion" as Greg Laurie stated, "religion will send more people to hell than, sex, drugs, and rock&roll." Why is this? Because Religion is Christianity without a relationship with Christ. (That seems like and oxymoron) Religion says "because I am a Christian I do _____(whatever) or because I am a Christian I don't do _____(whatever)" but Jesus says "you are a Christian because of what I have done" Religious people say....do,do,do or don't, don't, don't.....but Jesus says DONE" I love Revelations 21:5...its a great verse, look it up when you get a chance.

I also think that the church, in general, has done a good job of preaching religion and a poor job of preaching Christ. I'll give you an example...when I first got saved, it seemed that I had 750,000 Christian rules to follow...Go to church, read your Bible, respect authority, don't smoke, don't get tattoos, no sex porn or masturbation, no music with cursing....you get the gist. The sad thing is that nobody taught me how to Pray, nobody truly explained the divine importance of Scripture, nobody taught me how to encounter God in a quiet place, nobody taught me about the importance of biblical accountability and relationships, or what it means to truly love my wife without loving her because I am supposed to. But hey, I sure did have the rules down. (we are not under law but under grace) And I think that this is the underlying reason why our culture is running from the church, its because we don't like rules. So instead of giving them rules, we need to figure out how to give them Jesus, with the understanding that when they have Jesus, all the rest will fall into place.

Am I way off on this?

Can someone elaborate on this?

What is a generation?

The more I think about a church trying to reach the 20-30 year olds, because that is the "generation" that we are missing, the more God is convicting me. All throughout the bible, a generation was not an age group, but instead "The people who were living on earth at that perticular time" So I am a little uncomfortable with trying to gear a church towards an age group rather than towards "the people who are here on earth now, while strategically targeting the masses which are 18-40 year olds." That statement may seem that I am all about numbers, which I am not, I am more concerned about the health of a church, creating a church that is missional and reaching people for Jesus. Numbers on the other hand is extremely important and I think God feels the same way....every number is a eternal soul, there is a book called Numbers, God desired ALL to be saved (1 Tim2:3-4) therefore we should count peopel because people count.

Can you tell me your thoughts on this entire paragraph?

Have you gotten your "God Fix"

I think that the church in general, at times, has portrayed God as a Holy, Reverent, Majestic being, who is way out there, you can't see him, smell him, touch him, and therefore you may go to a church service, feel close to God, get the warm and fuzzies, feel a bit convicted for "not being in church lately" but when you leave, there is no change because all we have done is encountered an experience with no repentance. (Remember when Jesus first started his ministry, the bible states that he went out preaching "REPENT, for the kingdom of God is near") Thus, when they left the home or grew up, over 80% never went back to church but for Easter and Christmas (George Barna). And when they go back for Easter and Christmas, they usually get the "God Fix" where they again get the warm and fuzzies and feel good about themselves and will say something like "I really needed that." but again they have yet to experience God in a personal way and again, there has not been true repentance. We need to keep in mind that repentance is running away from the sinful desires and running after God, you can't have one without the other, thats not repentance. Our generation's view on repentance seems to be more about feeling bad for our sins, telling God we are sorry, and asking for forgiveness, all without running in the other direction after God.

My question here is....in your experience do you see the same thing? How can we as Pastors create a church that addresses this?

Why did they Leave?

In New York, a vast majority of the culture was totally unchurched or Catholic with baggage. What are 20 - 30 something people who are not in church saying is their reason for leaving church? Unless someone moves into the area from an unchurched region, I'm finding most people in this area either go to church or made their children go until they were a certain age. Is this what you see as well?

1. In response to this question, the reasons why most 20-30 somethings would leave church upon High school graduation, from reading some things and talking to some people, I have found that most of those people never truly encountered God in a real authentic and personal way during their years in church. Furthermore they rarely ever saw God as being relevant. In the generation before mine, there seemed to be an underlying understanding and fundamental respect for things such as "Truth", "Jesus", an "Inspired Bible", etc. Today we are dealing with a group of people that ask many questions. So my question to you is this.......how can we become culturally liberal and theologically conservative in order to reach these people with Jesus? I would love to hear your thoughts on this?

Church Plant Name

Hi Everyone, I wanted to start a small dialog.

I have a vision to start a church plant one day, probably within the next 2 or 3 years is when we would launch. In the mean time, there is still a lot of preperation. Leadership team, mission, location, etc. Anyway, I think God gave me a church name and I wanted your thoughts.

"Netcast Community Church"

It comes out of Matthew 4 where Peter is casting his nets to catch fish and Jesus rolls up and says, I'll make you fisher of men. It seems that too many churches, especially in America, are aquarium attendants and are watching fish (Christians) jumping from one bowl to the other. They'll build their church on other church members. This church's mission is to catch new fish and build a tank. Our slogan, "We do church for people who dont do church."

What do you think about the name?
What do you think about the idea?