Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Why We Should Stop Using the Word “Missional”

Why We Should Stop Using the Word “Missional”

You may already know that I have a bit of an aversion to Christian-ese and labels. I find that all too often, we Christians are so quick to throw around buzzwords and discuss the next hot-button issue, meanwhile abandoning the issues that really need discussing.

Yesterday, I asked some of my blog readers on Facebook and Twitter to share with me a few of the buzzwords that they too are sick of hearing.

You all had some precious gems to add to the list of over-used Christian terms, things like:

“community”

“intentional”

“doing life”

“love on”

“emergent”

“social justice”

…and my personal favorite, “missional.”

I could spend an entire post writing about each of the terms listed, but “missional,” in particular, really gets under my skin…and for good reason.

The very word missional means to simply be missionary minded. Wikipedia says this:

“[Missional living] is a Christian term that describes a missionary lifestyle; adopting the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the Gospel message.”

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Here is where I take issue…We need a new term in order to adopt “the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary, in order to engage others with the Gospel”?

Now, on the one hand, I understand why new terms spring up. Ideas and vision take shape. People become excited about said vision, and in an attempt to grow the vision and share the vision, they create new terminology to better articulate the vision.

The problem, however, is that this is not a new vision. Not even close. Remember that little ol’ passage at the end of the book of Matthew? It goes something like this:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

And then in Acts 1:8, we are told,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the Earth.”

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nicolecottrell@churchleaders.com'
Nicole Cottrell is trained in the fine art of button-pushing. She uses her skills daily on Modern Reject where she writes about the intersection of faith and culture as well as the unpopular stuff no one else likes to talk about. Nicole is a speaker, writer, discipler, and coffee fanatic. She and her husband planted the Foundation, a network of house churches in Arizona. Nicole lives in Scottsdale with her husband and two little munchkins, three of the coolest and funniest people she knows.