Expand Missional Gateways
The early church met in multiple locations from homes across the city doing life together, to the temple courts for fellowship out in the marketplace, to public halls they rented for lectures and debates to designated places of prayer, synagogues and eventually church buildings.
Churches aren’t just to put signs on their doors saying ‘enquire within’. Rather, they’re to send each member into their particular mission location as an everyday missionary. Missional churches have multiple gateways that give space to investigate faith in a wide range of locations.
One way to build the value of everyday mission by Christians is to shift the traditional focus on the church as the sole centre of mission. The following contrasting models of missional flow are shaped by contrasting missional DNA:
Attractional strategy The ‘front door pathway’ Attractional churches have a centripetal dynamic that emphasizes bringing people to the worship service or course. Church members can be called ‘bringers’, and evangelism training is focused on praying for friends and inviting friends to events.
Incarnational strategy The ‘side door pathway’
Centrifugal churches invest in community activities and personal evangelism amongst a network of contacts. They then include people in the life of the church, as belonging leads to doctrinal belief, which transforms behaviour.
Emerging strategy The new door pathway
A church that is established in the geographic and cultural context of a particular people group emerges within that context as it demonstrates a profoundly attractive Christlikeness and servant attitude. A church emerges as people become Christians, and the church is based in the geographic and cultural context of those people.
Missional strategy The multi-point pathway
This fourth model takes the different locations of evangelism into account while also recognizing that the ultimate objective is to make disciples who gather in a mixed community of believers within a local area.
1. Individuals are equipped and sent to the daily mission field. Churches provide training, marketplace ministries and missional small groups. As Christians go they pray for their community, engage in culture as a blessing and share the hope of Christ in daily conversations.
2. Church serves the community through compassion ministries and makes the message of Christ visible, practical and local. Church also organizes outreach events in ‘third spaces’ that act as gateways to gospel conversations (See Connection Pathways).
3. Once people get to know ‘people of peace’ at third-space events, they’re invited to activities at the church where they can explore faith, become Christians, and join the body of Christ. Believers gather to do life and discover more about the Lord Jesus together.