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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 ...

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