Top Ten Marks of a Missional Congregation
By David E. Sprang
1) Always Listening – to God, each other and the community. Creates space and hospitality for others to tell their story
2) Mentors and Trains Leaders – leadership is shared by all. The pastor and church leadership is always nurturing the gifts and talents of the congregation and encourages them to take leadership roles. Especially young people. Gifts and talents for ministry are identified. Missional Churches raise up new pastors and rostered leaders on behalf of the whole church.
3) Embraces Change – the way church is done is always changing to fit the needs of the community. Missional churches hold on to what is essential and change what is not working or outdated. A missional church is able to make quick decisions and try new things. New effective ministries are solidified and ineffective ones terminated.
4) Rooted in the Community – the needs of the wider community/context are just as important as the needs of the worshipping community. A missional church empowered by worship to be out in the world sharing the love and grace of God.
5) Grounded in Worship That is Relevant and Uplifting – coming together as a worshipping community is the heart of the community and provided the strength the community needs to go out and serve. The congregation is propelled by their baptismal call and nourished by Holy Communion to go out and serve. In worship the congregation practices hospitality, uses inspiring music, and its practices connect with a wide variety if ages.
6) Missional Based Decisions – decisions made by the congregation are based on the mission of God and the purpose of the congregation. Everyone knows what the congregation’s mission – purpose statement is, and uses it to make decisions. Decisions are based more on a balance of how they would affect those outside as well as inside.
7) Mission Support is Necessary – there is an understanding that if the church is to be effective it takes everyone’s support. Support of time and support of money. It is made clear that money and time given to the church touches the lives of people both inside and outside the church. And they tell those stories.
8) Mission is propelled by Jesus—there is an understanding that no one can earn their salvation. All come to church at God’s invitation and welcome. The work of the church is done as a reflection and in response to what God has done in Jesus. The missional congregation not only listens to its community an responds with appropriate help, but in the process of serving the congregation also speaks about faith and for the discipleship motivation for serving. They also invite others to faith.
9) Collaborates – realize that their work is not done in isolation. They work with partners within the denomination, neighboring churches, and community organizations.
10) The Congregation’s Goal is Faith Formation – bringing people to God and not just to get members. Members of the worshipping community study the Bible and are compelled by faith and discipleship. The church has learned to invite others into faith in Jesus.
A Missional Pastor – prays regularly, is collegial, participates in continued study, fosters gifts for leadership in others, spends time in the community listening and serving, fosters diversity and conversation, gives leadership away, and welcomes diversity in all areas of church life.