Establishing a missional church means that you plant a church that’s part of the culture you’re seeking to reach.
Missional is the posture – the way in church we approach people in culture – but incarnational describes what’s actually happening.
We apply the pragmatic test to the work of a theologian. Does his theology motivate men to go into all the world and make disciples? Does it so undergird them that they, thus motivated, succeed in this primary purpose? Theology must stand the test of being known by its fruit.
In Acts 17, the apostle Paul did four things in his effort to be culturally relevant: (1) He understood the Athenians’ position on reality, (2) He understood the Athenians underlying spiritual interest, (3) He looked for positive points within their worldview, and (4) He encouraged them to find true fulfillment in Christ.
Mission is the mother of theology.
Culturally appropriate evangelism answers the actual questions being asked by a given culture rather than those questions the church believes the culture should ask.
Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, says that “Sunday morning is for communicating, not couseling. In fact – and to some this may sound unspiritual – I don’t think you can actually build a church on people who need counseling. When your church has grown and you have more resources, then those people can come back and be helped by the ministry you’ve built.”
The ten most frequent traits of impactful, emerging postmodern churches are: (1) Being unashamedly spiritual, (2) Promoting incarnational ministry, (3) Engaging in service, (4) Valuing experiential praise, (5) Preaching narrative expository messages, (6) Appreciating and participating in ancient patterns, (7) Visualizing worship, (8) Connecting with technology, (9) Living community, and (10) Leading by transparency and team.
For worship to promote evangelism, Sally Morgenthaler says it must include four elements: “nearness – an awareness of the presence of God; knowledge – worship that is centered on who Christ is; vulnerability – worship that involves opening up to God; and interaction – participating in the worship of God.”
George Gallup found that 70% of Americans say that the church is not meeting their needs. When asked what these needs were, there were six responses: (1) To believe life is meaningful and has purpose, (2) To have a sense of community and deeper relationships, (3) To be appreciated and respected, (4) To be listened to and heard, (5) To grow in faith, and (6) To receive practical help in developing a mature faith.
Church growth expert Win Arn lists 8 characteristics of an “incorporated member”: (1) New members should be able to list at least 7 new friends they have made in the church, (2) New members should be able to identify their spiritual gifts, (3) New members should be involved in at least one (preferably several) roles/tasks/ministries in the church, appropriate to their spiritual gifts, (4) New members should be actively involved in a small fellowship group, (5) New members should demonstrate a regular financial commitment to the church, (6) New members should personally understand and identify church goals, (7) New members should attend worship gatherings regularly, and (8) New members should identify unchurched friends and relatives and take specific steps to help them toward responsible church membership.