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10 Marks of a Missional Church

7. A Missional Church Is Supernatural

Luke describes the church as a supernatural community: “And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). Some would limit the performing of wonders and signs to the apostles, but the miraculous Samaritan revival was led by a deacon, Philip (Acts 8:6-13).

Missional churches believe in all of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament and seek to exercise them in a way that is both humble and biblical. They assume the activity of the Spirit is a normal part of the Christian church and pray for and expect miraculous things to occur.

8. A Missional Church Is Countercultural

God’s people live out their lives as a countercultural community whose citizenship is primarily in God’s kingdom. The purpose of such countercultural kingdom living is threefold.

First, countercultural living expresses worship of Jesus by obeying his teachings (Matt. 28:18-20).

Second, countercultural living trains younger generations in missional living, so there is a legacy of faith that continues after one’s death.

Third, open and public countercultural living provides non-Christians an alternative and attractive way of life with Jesus and his people, the church.

9. A Missional Church Multiplies

Missional churches care about people meeting Jesus, the well-being of the local church and the health of the whole church. From this foundation, missional churches are innately reproductive. The missional church expresses this through the sharing and giving of resources (e.g., leaders, people, facilities, finances, training) in four ways: (1) They plant new churches; (2) are open to starting other campuses; (3) practice unity on a local level to the degree that faithfulness to God isn’t compromised; and (4) help other evangelical churches.

10. A Missional Church Is Messy

A missional church is much like the early church. The early church struggled with marginalization in its society. The early church also wrestled through the questions that were raised when the Gospel jumped from Jewish to Gentile culture, which included topics such as circumcision, Sabbath day and festivals, meat sacrificed to idols, and sexual propriety. Arguably all the New Testament Epistles are missional letters intended to help local churches either get on or stay on mission with God.

A reading of the New Testament reveals how messy the first churches were. It seems every reform and revival movement in the history of the church has sought to return to the pattern of the New Testament church.

While this is wise in principle, the result in practice is often an unrealistic and idealistic reading of the New Testament that overlooks the messiness. Admittedly, the New Testament does speak of a few decent churches in favorable terms, such as the churches in Philippi and Thessalonica. However, the churches and Christians in the New Testament are anything but the utopian dream too many Christians somehow see when reading their Bible. The church at Galatia, for example, was filled with legalistic, false, demonic doctrine.

Like the early church, the church today will be a mixed bag filled with the good, bad and ugly.