(Resources at the bottom of the page pertaining to this topic)
Over the past several years, the missional movement has picked up steam and has become a common modus operandi for ministry in mainstream evangelicalism, even within aspects of my own church. The term ‘missional’ has taken on many different definitions depending on the point of view. Tim Keller uses it one way, Dan Kimball, Dallas Willard and others [Doug Pagitt, McLaren] use it quite another.
[CORRECTION and update: apparently I’m wrong about Kimball and Keller having different views on missional-ism. Oddly enough, after just writing this, Keller and Kimball are on the same page it seems after releasing a joint manifesto along with some others such as Ed Stetzer and J.D. Greear: http://www.missionalmanifesto.net/ … so I retract that one part and added a couple of other names to show the contrast in views. In the manifesto, they make this statement: “It is first necessary to be clear about what missional does not mean. Missional is not synonymous with movements attempting to culturally contextualize Christianity, implement church growth, or engage in social action. The word missional can encompass all of the above, but it is not limited to any one of these.” And I’m glad they have said this. There is still the concern though about “mission creep” in this movement, that it can inadvertently become those things. I digress.]
Regardless, at the heart of the drive behind missional ecclesiology is a legitimate concern that the Western world at large needs to be re-evangelized, that believers need to go out as missionaries, as it were, and that we need to be reaching out more to the lost in both word and deed. I certainly share those concerns.