Missional Living (Def.)

Missional and being on mission are major subjects of discussion among Christ-followers and Mission and Life Intersectchurches today. Many books on the subject … many definitions of what “missional” and “missional living” are.

I was going through some articles in my files the other day and came across two definitions of “missional living” that I liked.

The first is from Floyd McClung. McClung served with Youth With a Mission for many years and is currently with a ministry in South Africa called All Nations.  In an article entitled “Missional Living”, McClung describes “missional living” simply as:

investing in the lives of other people. It is not a program. It is certainly more that organized outreach activities. Being a missional person means intentionally building bridges to other people – for the sake of them knowing Jesus and discovering what it means to be a fully alive, free human being. It is an attitude that says, ‘I will invest my life in others for the sake of Christ and His purposes on earth.’ It means I will live that way in every sphere of life and every day of the week.”

The second definition is taken from an article written by Ashley Wolpert and posted on Ed Stetzer’s blog. The title, like McClung’s, is also “Missional Living”. In the article Wolpert is interviewing Ed Stezer and she asks him to define missional living.

Stetzer defines it this way:

Missional living is essentially living with our primary perspective as that of an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. It means making our lives not about us, but about Jesus and His Kingdom.

In an alliterated sense, missional living is an incarnational (being the presence of Christ in community), indigenous (of a people and culture) and intentional (planning our lives around God’s agenda) focus on the power of the Gospel to bring the reign of God into people’s lives.”

From both definitions we can draw the conclusion that missional living is:

  1. God-focused: “for the sake of Christ and His purposes”, “for the Kingdom of God”, “about Jesus and His Kingdom”, and “the reign of God”
  2. Others-oriented: “other people”, “for the sake of them knowing Jesus”, “in community”, and “people and culture”.
  3. Self-sacrificing: ” investing in the lives of others”, “intentionally building bridges”, “not about us”, and “being the presence of Christ”

We have all read about being on mission, or being sent: God sent His Son; the Father and the Son sent the Spirit; and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send us into the world with the Gospel message of His love and grace. 

Into what context of life has the Lord sent or placed you, and how are you intentionally and purposively engaging it for the Kingdom and glory of God?


There are many definitions of missional living or what it means to be on mission. You’ve probably read a good one or two that you feel best expresses missional living to you. Why not leave a comment and share it?

Read Floyd’s article here and Ashley’s interview of Stetzer here.

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Planting, Missional Living, Neighborhoods, Simple Church

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