Jump directly to the Content

Dangers of Missionalism

Even the best causes can become cold, prideful, and all-consuming.

I've added a new word to my vocabulary: missionalism. In fact I may have coined the word. All I know is that my spell-checker never heard of it before.

Missionalism defined: the belief that the worth of one's life is determined by the achievement of a grand objective. Key word: worth.

I don't know how long the word missional has been in use. I only began to hear it in the last few years as in "we're a missional church." Is missional really that different from being purpose-driven? I like both terms, but I know lots of churches (including ones I pastored) that were acting missional and purpose-driven long before the two words became popular. I remember thinking one day that missional sounds a bit Catholic, and purpose-driven sounds more Evangelical Protestant.

But missionalism is something else. It's a leader's disease. Like a common cold that begins with a small cough, missionalism catches on in a leader's life and seems at first so inconsequential. But let this disease catch hold and you ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
How to Become a Trauma-Informed Congregation
How to Become a Trauma-Informed Congregation
These suggestions will help your church better care for survivors of abuse.
From the Magazine
Martha: Busy Hostess or Dragon Slayer?
Martha: Busy Hostess or Dragon Slayer?
The Gospel of John and medieval legend show Mary’s sister to value theology and hospitality.
Editor's Pick
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Q&A with SBC minister Dana Moore on the power of prayer in a state death chamber.
close