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