Shifting into Missional Gear

Making the Paradigm Shift

As my contribution to the What Is Missional? Synchroblog, I want to explain a few simple, yet vital, tweaks in the way that we view ministry that are needed in order to overcome the dualistic, condescending, and separatist mentalities of mission and ministry that hinder truly missional expression.

What Is Missional? It is…


Out not In

An important distinction of missional is that it is Out rather than In. This is a 180 degree shift from traditional ministry methods. Ministry is a lifestyle out in the world rather than service to or within an organization.  As we love and serve others around us, we participate in the life of the kingdom.

With not For

As we walk together with others in their faith journey, we walk in mutual relationships, both giving of ourselves and receiving from them.  When we share the love of God with others, we encounter Christ himself in their midst.  The idea of mutuality is expressed by doing things With rather than For others.  This necessitates that we take the time to know them.  We develop relationships of commitment, to be with them in their journey rather than to simply show up for charity work.

Us not Them

Another necessary shift in thinking is to view the people that we minister among as Us rather than Them. We are all invited to share in Christ’s table.  We don’t view others as a project, but we identify with them as our family – broken as we are, in need of restoration.  Our own restoration and shalom is wrapped up in the reconciliation of those around us.  God is already at work in their lives.  It is our missional privilege to share in God’s mission of reconciliation among the people in our world.

Missional – sharing God’s love out among the people in our world

List of those participating in the synchroblog:

Alan Hirsch
Alan Knox
Andrew Jones
Barb Peters
Bill Kinnon
Brad Brisco
Brad Grinnen
Brad Sargent
Brother Maynard
Bryan Riley
Chad Brooks
Chris Wignall
Cobus Van Wyngaard
Dave DeVries
David Best
David Fitch
David Wierzbicki
Doug Jones
Duncan McFadzean
Erika Haub
Jamie Arpin-Ricci
Jeff McQuilkin
John Smulo
Jonathan Brink
JR Rozko
Kathy Escobar
Len Hjalmarson
Makeesha Fisher
Malcolm Lanham
Mark Berry
Mark Petersen
Mark Priddy
Michael Crane
Michael Stewart
Nick Loyd
Patrick Oden
Peggy Brown
Phil Wyman
Richard Pool
Rick Meigs
Rob Robinson
Ron Cole
Scott Marshall
Sonja Andrews
Stephen Shields
Steve Hayes
Tim Thompson
Thom Turner


24 thoughts on “Shifting into Missional Gear

  1. Grace,

    I’m 100% in on what ya’ll are saying. Tradition Christianity is – Be Conformed to our image – (be just like us) – then we will Accept you – and Believing is optional. (In fact many people in this system are not really Believers) . For three point teachers this is Conform (to us)-Be Accepted-Believe (optional)

    Real Christianity – is – we will Accept you right where you are – then through our love – you’ll Believe – and through that belief – you will be Conformed into the image of Christ (not our image). For three point teachers – this is Be Accepted – Believe – Be Conformed.

    John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

  2. Grace, Thanks for being part of this global synchroblog.

    One other “With not For” that came to mind as I read your post was “with God and not for God.” How many ministries and programs are created to do something for God instead of finding out what he is want and going with him to accomplish it? Just a lose thought.

  3. I like succinct thoughts. Few words, full of meaning. Thank you Grace.

    Your contribution is extremely helpful to me as I try to define missional for my board and our partner organizations.

  4. Thanks everyone. I’ve been busy trying to get around and read everyone’s posts. It is great seeing so many different perspectives.

    So true. Salvation is an ongoing process.

    What a great addition to “with not for”. I wish I had thought to include it in the post. ;) All of my points address dualism which as you pointed out is an obstacle to missional expression.

    The posts I read by the women in this synchroblog were outstanding.

  5. You have given me hope back. I was seeing many references to processes and defenses of word, orthopraxy and orthodoxy. It was enough to make my head swim. This message was so right on put the real focus of what it means to be missional to the real core of Christianity: our relationship with God and how we share that in relationship to everyone else around us.

    Your contrasts show the subtle differences between self focus and other focus. That is what so many people just don’t get. They focus on being religious rather than being compassionate. They focus on being right rather than embracing their neighbor. They focus on where they are rather than reaching out to those along the way.

  6. Thanks Andrew.

    Simple is good. :)

    Great thoughts. A change of focus must occur first.

    “walking together” kind of says it all.

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