Many churches will go to great lengths and tremendous expense to involve members in “missional” activities far from home, yet fail to fully engage their own neighborhood. Perhaps one of the contributing factors to this seeming inconsistency is the ability for us to behave “missionally” for a short period of time in a “far country” where co-workers and neighbors can’t see us. In these short-term/long-distance mission events, we are able to experience the passion of missional living without really becoming incar-
national to our own context.
This approach to missional work is perhaps the unfortunate outcome of a separation between missions and evangelism in popular thinking among Southern Baptists and other evangelicals. To many, missions is something done “elsewhere” by “someone.” Thus, some churches that are “far-thinking” and “far-reaching” in terms of international missions are failing to reach the people in the shadows of their steeples. North America is not viewed as a mission field. In fact, many believe it to be a “reached” field only in need of an evangelism strategy, not a true missional engagement.
What is needed is not merely an understanding of missiological thinking, but a commitment to missional thinking. While missiology concerns itself with study about missions and its methodologies, missional thinking focuses on doing missions in every geographical location. Such thinking is needed if the SBC is to remain faithful in its calling to serve churches by equipping them to impact their surrounding communities.
Southern Baptist Identity, pp. 186
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