Four years ago Jeff Maguire Pastor at Mariner’s Church Irvine California created a white board video titled “The Missional Church.”

The video is well worth the two minutes it takes to watch: 

But, if watching videos is not your thing, here is the bulk of Maguire’s text:

The Missional Church January 29, 2010

In the past churches have spent large amounts of resources to construct the most attractive places imaginable for the community in which they were situated.

Great music, compelling teaching and a host of programs designed to gather people together were the staple of such church communities

Anyone who wanted to come was welcome and church members were encouraged to invite their friends and neighbours. Generally people had a pleasant experience

The people who came and were cared for seemed relatively similar: education, income, pastimes, race, struggles, and histories seemed to be almost identical

Eventually someone asked the question: what about all the people who aren’t like us but who live around us. Why aren’t they here too? In response the church increased its marketing budget, direct mailing the community, taking out ads in local papers, buying radio time, releasing a fresh webpage, and offering to host the world’s greatest event.

The church was determined to be the centre of everything great that happened in the community. Church members began to rely on the church to do the work of conveying God’s story in the world

If someone could be brought to an event they could hear about Jesus from a professional teacher.

Inviting people became synonymous with evangelism

The missional church on the other hand empowers its members to be the church in the community. The church trains, resources, encourages, and challenges its people to live out the good news in their community with those who would otherwise be suspicious of a church and its marketing efforts. The church sends out its members to live among people unfamiliar with  church customs, songs, and what it holds sacred – just like a foreign missionary

 The missional church recognizes then that every believer embodies the life of the church in their neighbourhood, in their school, or at their place of work, each one of them telling God’s story in the context of genuine compassionate relationship.

I love this idea that church is not a place to which we need to attract people. It is not a program for which we need to coax people to sign up or to which we need to badger people to be committed. Church is not about pressure, demand, or even expectation. It is not about getting someone to do something or to be somewhere.

Church is every person being in relationship with God and with the people around them in such a way that they embody the heart-opening message of love that is the reason church exists.

My suspicion is that, where church people are living authentically open transparent lives of faith and service, they will at times find non-church people asking, “Why are you like this? How did you get this way? What makes you tick?” This opens up a conversation which… who knows?… might one day lead a person to conclude that church actually makes sense and that they want to enter into a worshiping community of faith…. or not. Either way, getting people into a building on a Sunday morning, is not the primary issue or the most important commitment for people who seek to know and hnour God in their lives.

The important thing is that church exists to call me back to the awareness that the centre of life is the transcendent mystery and beauty of the love revealed in Jesus. When all that I am and everything I do flows from this place of depth and light my life will be in harmony with the purpose for which I was created. A community that gathers around this awareness will be missional without needing to even think about it.