The Important Tasks of the Missional Church
I’d like to give you some of my thoughts, as well as some thoughts from Stanley Grenz and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. The most significant contribution that the missional church has brought into the conversation is the reminder that “the essential nature of the church is missionary, rather than mission being a task given to the church” (151). For the “who” always proceeds the “what”. With that in mind, both Grenz and Karkkainen give us a lot of help. Genz takes a memorable route, for when he mentions worship, edification, and outreach, he essentially is helping us understand the mission of the church is three-dimensional – up, in and out. That is easy on the memory and one can flesh out the details more within that framework. Karkkainen prefers to flesh it out more into six basic tasks, and multiple subtasks, each of which is essential in my mind. The six he mentions are: the doxological (worship), the kerygmatic (proclaiming), the koinomiac (fellowship), the diaconic (service), the theraputic (healing), and the reconciliatory (reconciliation).
It seems to me that the most important task(s) is that we take a holistic approach to church life, and see how each of these tasks are vital if we are going to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.
The approach I am leading our churches in LA to take is based upon the five equippers, each of which represent a different part of Jesus’ ministry, and collectively enable the church to grow up into the stature of Christ. I mention five tasks, each of which have two subtasks, for easy memory. The five are: Living out our Calling, Walking with God, Incarnating the Good News, Pursing Wholeness in Community and Inhabiting the Sacred Text. The ten that flow from those five (two for each one) include: Following Jesus and cultivating the growth of the kingdom, Spirit-transforming communities and standing with the poor and oppressed, being a people of welcome and being redemptive agents, experiencing healing and moving toward wholeness and embodying reconciliation, immersing ourselves in the Sacred Text and living faithfully in the story of God. The important task(s) is for the church to cultivate a strong and wholistic discipleship ethos so that we would grow up to be like Christ, and follow in his footsteps by being a blessing to the world.