Thursday, May 05, 2011

Stetzer: Manifesto offers 'missional' clarity

The word "missional" can be "an ecclesiological junk drawer" -- meaning different things to different people -- but understanding what it means could have lasting impact on the church, missiologist Ed Stetzer said of a "Missional Manifesto" introduced at a church planting conference in Orlando, Fla.

"The term 'missional' can be like a Rorschach Test [in which] someone is asked to distinguish what they see in random inkblots," Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote May 2 at his website. "As you know, the answer changes from one person to the next. ... The same is true for many in the missional conversation. We tend to define 'missional' by what we want it to mean. As more churches and church leaders have entered the 'missional conversation' (which is great, by the way), it has gotten more complicated to do so. In fact, it has gotten so muddled that some have said we should just lose the word altogether. I'm not so sure that's the right move."

To help clarify the word -- and hopefully help mobilize the church to fulfill its mission mandate -- Stetzer announced the release of the "Missional Manifesto" April 29 at the Exponential church planting conference in Orlando. The document seeks to set forth a consensus on what it means to "be missional" framed by a group of leading missiologists, pastors, theologians and authors.

"Through the Missional Manifesto, we hope to clarify what we mean and encourage all God's people to live on mission," said Alan Hirsch, founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and one of the document's framers.

To read more, click here.

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