Q. I hear the word “missional” thrown around a lot today. Is “being missional” just a new buzzword or trend? Or is it something more? What does it mean to “be missional”?

A. “Being missional” is often viewed as just another phase or program. But being missional is more than just another movement—it is a full expression of who the church is and what it is called to be and do. The missional church is a collection of believers acting in concert to fulfill God’s mission.

Missional people are discovering and exploring what it means to be Jesus’ sent people. The missional church views its members as already placed by God in their families, friendships, jobs, schools and neighborhoods. Missional people are concerned with being prepared to fully engage the nature of God’s placement so that they can fully seize every opportunity.

Being missional often requires a change in the way we think about the church. The term “church” refers to the people of God; the called-out ones; those formed for His dwelling; the bearers of His presence in the world. We’re not referring to a building, denomination or physical location. When you hear the word “church,” think of yourself and your faith community, not that building you go to each Sunday.

Jesus told us to go into all the world, but many churches today seem to have changed the “go and be” command to a “come and see” appeal. We have grown attached to buildings, programs, staff and a wide variety of goods and services designed to attract and entertain people.

“Missional” is a helpful term used to describe what happens when you and I replace the “come to us” invitations with a “go to them” life—a life where the way we as individuals relate to others involves bringing the church to them, freed from an agenda that seeks to remove people from their surroundings so we can bring them into our buildings. This new way of relating to those outside the church requires us to be wholly focused on sacrificially living for God and others, and adopting a missionary stance in relation to our culture.

As church leaders, we need to ask ourselves some questions regarding our own ministry contexts: To what extent is our church a “sent” community in which each believer is reaching out to his or her community? To what extent is our church impacting the community with a Christian message that challenges the values of our secular society? And to what extent is our church seeking to prepare our people to effectively care for others in their families, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces? Answering these questions honestly can help us become more in tune with the Great Commission—and our role in fulfilling it.

By: Rod Koop, national facilitator of Church Health and Multiplication for The Foursquare Church