Home Pastors Pastor Blogs Guder: "Missional" Church as a Scaffolding Term

Guder: "Missional" Church as a Scaffolding Term

In some recent dialogue with Darrell Guder, editor of the Missional Church, the book that brought “missional” to the front of the conversation, he shared some thoughts on the phrase “missional church.”

Guder explained:

One of my students has described [the missional church] as a “scaffolding term.” It should not be necessary to speak of the “missional church,” but since it is possible for a church to exist that does not understand itself as defined by God’s mission, the term is needed.

We shouldn’t have to say “missional ecclesiology” or “missional theology,” but the plain fact is that the church in the West has been doing ecclesiology (and theology in general!) for centuries and ignoring its fundamental and comprehensive mission while doing so. Perhaps there will be day when we talk about theology, or church, or witness, or scriptural interpretation, and it will be unquestioned that what we are talking about is defined by God’s mission and our vocation. Then the term, like a scaffolding after completing the job, can be dropped. But we are a long time from that point, I fear.

I think that the term should be unnecessary (like the phrase “biblical preaching,” might I add). Yet, we add the modifier because it is needed to refocus the church on the mission of God.

What do you think? Give your thoughts in the comments.

Previous article7 Ways to Distinguish God’s Voice from the Circumstances of Life
Next articleDeeper Story | The Gospel of Busyness
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and he has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves at his local church, Highpoint Church, as a teaching pastor. Dr. Stetzer is currently living in England and teaching at Oxford University.