More thoughts on creating a missional culture in your church

Earlier this summer, On Q published a blog that took a look at the important first step in creating a missional culture in any church: face the facts. Although it can be hard to take an honest look at your church’s missional culture, there’s a very good chance that doing so will be the key to jumpstarting important changes and shifts in your church’s mindset and ministry. The first step in building a missional culture in any church is to be strong and courageous—you must set aside the fear of being honest with yourself and your congregation.

Soon after that, we looked at another step that any church could take in order to help create a more mission-minded culture among its body: paint a picture of resurgence. In that same article, we also noted one important thing to not do—we should stop looking for the silver bullet.

Here, we’d like to share two more thoughts with you as you prayerfully consider ways to make a missional mindset your priority.

Pay attention to Wildly Important Goals
About a year ago at this time at the 2016 Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Chris McChesney from 4DX delivered an opening remark that grabbed the attention of everyone listening:

Most leaders are great at vision, but poor at execution.

He went on to talk about the need to create and focus on our “Wildly Important Goals” in order to have any chance at execution at all.

McChesney explained how running an organization is like a whirlwind of day-to-day grinds that certainly keep the organization going, but simultaneously eat up our time, keeping us from achieving our wildly important goals. While the whirlwind demands our attention, our wildly important goals patiently sit off to the side, waiting for us to give them attention.

We have to set goals and then set our focus to execute them. Without setting goals and giving these goals attention, quality time, and energy, the church whirlwind will keep us from really getting our people out of their seats and out into the world on the Mission of God.

Decrease the gap between knowledge and obedience by doing
Steve Moore, former president of Missio Nexus, once said:

When the gap between knowledge and obedience gets larger, spiritual power decreases.

Steve claims that today the west has adopted a knowing-based definition of spiritual maturity, as opposed to the New Testament Church who embodied an action-based definition. He elaborates by saying that people who knew very little did a lot and consequently grew a powerful disciple-making movement that influenced history more than any other prior or since. Talk about a missional culture!

Steve is on to something.

Believers together—churches—need to examine the gaps that exist between their knowledge and their actions in order to discover and release the power of God in greater ways throughout their immediate community and the world.

Consider what Alan Hirsch writes in his book The Forgotten Ways:

The Hebrews acted their way into a new way of thinking instead of thinking their way into a new way of acting. . . . Many church leaders go to a conference to access a whole lot of new ideas about church renewal, leadership, and mission. The problem is that this is all they get—new thinking. They still have to deal with an unchanged congregation. And on a deeper look they soon realize that their own behaviors remain unchanged. It is genuinely hard to change one’s behaviors by merely getting new ideas. . . . Even though gaining knowledge is essential to transformation, we soon discover that it’s going to take a whole lot more than new thinking to transform us.

Hirsch submits that in order to decrease the gap between knowledge and obedience, we just need to do.

The good news? There are things to do, skills that can be learned and practiced so that any believer can act their way into a new way of thinking–missional thinking.