The Missional Manifesto has been available as a web document for a few months now. Despite the name (which everytime I hear it I can only think Communist Manifesto), the document does a beautiful job of reclaiming the meaning of “missional”. The document appropriately grounds the concept in the Word of God, and introduces a succinct lexicon, that, if widely adopted, would avoid many of the misconceptions and misappropriations of the term “missional”. As stated in the preamble of the document:
“One of the goals of theology is to safeguard the meaning of words in order to uphold truth and articulate a biblical worldview within the community of faith. Redeeming the integrity of the word missional is especially critical. It is not our intent (or within our ability) to define words for others, but we thought it helpful to describe and define how we are using the term—and to invite others to do the same. A biblically faithful, missional understanding of God and the church is essential to the advancement of our role in His mission, and thus to the dynamism of Christianity in the world.”
I personally find the effort of great help to me. As I speak about recapturing the missional nature of the church, it is often met with skepticism as though I am simply repackaging liberalism in new wrapping paper, or introducing the latest fad or jargon to occupy us for a few years until someone influential comes along and introduces the next new “-al” understanding…like grace-al, a church that radically experiences and ministers grace. (Okay, just kidding on that part…or maybe I’m just a few years ahead of my time!)
The framers of the document, listed below, are a pretty remarkable group of individuals. While I haven’t read or heard all of them, people like Stetzer, Hirsch, Keller, Kimball, Mason, Greear, and Nation are some great thinkers and leaders in this area. Names I omitted are simply because I am not familiar with them. I express my gratitude to all of them for carefully thinking through and articulating the missional understanding of God and His church.