Glossary of Terms

A helpful list of common missional terms and their definitions.

Network: a non-hierarchal interconnected group of people, churches and ministries functioning together for the mutual benefit and furtherance of the Kingdom. Networks work best when they are flat and where information, relationships, vision and accountability are reciprocal and peer-based.

Equipping: the spiritual and strategic preparation, training and enrichment given through the operation of spiritual gifts in relational context for the work of ministry.

Culture: the unspoken and unseen values and practices that define families, tribes, churches and organizations. Church cultures can be visionary, insular or toxic. Culture trumps vision, stated values and enthusiasm by either bolstering them or impeding them.

Cross-cultural: entering a different people-group with the purpose of Gospel engagement.

Apostolic: the sending nature of our powerful, caring God. Not everyone is an Apostle, but we are all apostolic, we are all sent.

Five-fold Ministry: the functionality of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors in the Body of Christ. Five-fold ministers are defined by the functionality of their gifts, not their position, title or “office.”

Missional: the organization of everything around the mission of God to redeem, reconcile and restore all things as God sends us into the world.  As activities and life move toward being more missional, they become more incarnational—embodying all that Jesus is—and as things move more away from the mission of God they depend more attracting people than going to people.

Apostolic Government:the theocratic system whereby the Lord oversees His Body through delegated men. The apostles establish the doctrinal and governmental foundation for local churches and ordain other elders to help oversee churches under their care…  Although this type government may appear to promote a centralized system where the whole Body of Christ looks to one head, true apostolic government is not centralized. On the contrary, it allows for many apostles with separate administrations.” —Ken Sumrall

Movement: a large mass of people impassioned by a cause greater than themselves gathers and moves in the same direction to create catalytic growth and impact under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Movements foster change and are growing. A missional movement is ordered around the mission of God where disciple-making disciples and church-planting churches are actively engaged in communities, cities in various contexts and forms.

Trans-local Authority and Ministry: “authority and ministry which extends beyond a local church. The churches written to and about in the New Testament were not independent and autonomous with local elders or the congregation acting independently of any outside oversight. They were linked together by a higher level of apostolic officers who were ordained by the Holy Spirit to minister beyond a local church to ministers and churches related to them.” —Ken Sumrall

Incarnational:  “fleshing out” Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life and in work-a-day situations.  This is carried out with intentional acts in community as well as individually.

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” —John 1:14, THE MESSAGE

D.N.A. Huddles: small gatherings for the purpose of discipleship, nurture and accountability consisting of a coach and 3-4 others and generally centered on The Gospel Primer as a tool for multiplication..

Disciple (of Jesus): someone who intentionally learns what Jesus knows and learns to live like Jesus lived by hearing and acting on the Holy Spirit’s voice.

Discipleship: an intentional investment process where life is shared and God is glorified.  It is the environment where others are taught by word and example to love God and love others and to teach others to love God and love others.

“Discipleship is the process of moving from unbelief to belief about what is true of Jesus and the Gospel, in absolutely every area of life.” —Caesar Kalinowski

Lordship of Jesus: the intentional choice and process of applying the Gospel to every area of a disciple’s life.

Silos: an insular management system where departments, cells, ministries and networks operate within themselves incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related systems. Being “silo-ed” is not a complement.

Organic: systems and methods that are not mechanical or highly organizational but are living and relational.  Organic things live.  Living things grow and experience seasons.  Growing things change.  Changing things challenge.  Challenges cause growth.  Organic apostolic networks are growing through the Holy Spirit.

Kingdom of God: not so much to a place or a time but the space were what God wants done is done.

Missional Manifesto

In 2010–2011, a group of church leaders led by Ed Stetzer and Alan Hirsch collaborated on a statement to define what they meant when using the term “missional.” The result was the Missional Manifesto, available to download here as a PDF.

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