The church is not sent on a mission by God, rather God is on a mission and the church is called to join him. The mission is not the church’s; it is the Missio Dei, or “mission of God” that we are called to be part of. Andrew Jones of TallSkinnyKiwi blog fame points out: “Missio Dei stems from the Triune God: the Father sends the Son, the Father and the Son send the Spirit, the Father and the Son and the Spirit send the church into the world.”
Missional activist Alan Hirsch points out what being missional is not: First, the missional church is not synonymous with the emergent church, which is primarily a renewal movement to contextualize Christianity for a postmodern generation. Missional is also not the same as evangelistic or seeker sensitive, terms that generally apply to a more attractional church. Missional is not a new term from church growth it has a much bigger agenda than that. Finally, missional is not just social justice. We should engage the needs of the world, which is a part of the mission, but certainly not the whole of it.
Hirsch goes on to say, “A missional theology is not content with mission being a church-based work. Rather, it applies to the whole of life of every believer. Every disciple is to be an agent of the kingdom of God, and every disciple is to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life. We are all missionaries sent into a non-Christian culture.”