In his role as super spy Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise portrays an agent willing to face incredible odds and unbelievable danger in order to accomplish a "mission: impossible." Church leaders face assignments just as tough: to lead congregations to serve Christ in a changing and sometimes hostile world.

The word for this ministry challenge is missional. How does a church become missional? And for leaders, is moving a consumer church to become missional, in itself, a mission: impossible?

What "missional" means

When asked, "What kind of church do you serve?" leaders are finding that denominational qualifiers or adjectives such as innovative, emergent, contemporary, liturgical and purpose-driven don't get to the heart of the question; they tend to over-emphasize a particular aspect of the church.

Leaders are (re)discovering that the essential calling of the church has less to do with the way a church is organized, its doctrinal distinctions, or its style of music, and more to do with the missio Dei ...

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