Missional – Does the Word still have Value?

kinnon —  October 12, 2010 — 8 Comments

Nelson/Fitch – Missional – Does the word still have value? from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

Imbi and I shot this latest video (the first of three or four parts) at the end of August in the Office of the President at Tyndale University College and Seminary – set up when we found out Dave was coming into Toronto to meet with Gary (and spend a bit of time with us, too.) Gary Nelson had only been in the position of President & CEO at Tyndale for five weeks.

We first met Gary in the early ’90’s when he lead BUILD – Baptist Urban Involvement in Leadership Development (if I remember the acronym’s meaning correctly). Gary left BUILD to become the pastor of a multi-cultural, downtown church in Edmonton. Some of his story there informs his important book, Borderlands – A Congregation’s Introduction to Missional Living. (Len Hjalmarson does a very good series of blog posts on Gary’s book.)

Prior to joining Tyndale, Gary spent the previous decade as General Secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries where his heart for mission both in Canada and around the world was very much in evidence. Imbi and I confess real excitement with Gary’s new position at Tyndale. We think you’ll discover why in this video and the next two that we will put up over the next week or so.

This first video came out of Imbi and I asking Dave and Gary whether the word “missional” had become so over-used/mis-used that it no longer really had value.

The next video in this series focuses on what Theological Education Looks Like in the 21st Century. The third video looks at The Pastor in Post-Christendom and ends with Gary and Dave reflecting on what they are excited about for the church in the midst of this liminal church space.

These three videos will be added to the Missional Channel @ Vimeo – where our friend, Dave Fitch, figures prominently. Featured in those videos are Alan Hirsch, Graham Cray (who leads Fresh Expressions), Ed Stetzer, Cam Roxburgh and Andrew Jones.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

8 responses to Missional – Does the Word still have Value?

  1. Boy, did I need to hear that this morning. Thanks Imbi & Bill for sharing this with us!

  2. ditto to Jamie’s comment.

  3. Love the optimism and hopefulness.

  4. thx Bill and Imbi !
    hoping you’re ok with a re-post ?

  5. Go for it! The more embeds the better. 🙂

  6. I thought this was an incredible interview on several counts. First, David’s enumeration of the important issues is spot on. Gary’s comments about whether one can be missional short of the “borderland” is just incredibly challenging. Third, David’s confession about trying to live into this stuff when you have stuff to pay for is a breath of fresh air. (I love theologians and scholars who actually pastor!) I’m 60 and absolutely can relate to that. In the U.S. it takes a crap load of money to be 60…health insurance, etc.

    However, please guys…don’t give up on the word missional. Those of us who think about this a lot, talk about it a lot, read about it a lot, and who hang out with young leaders who are doing the same thing might come to think that we’ve already worn that word out.

    I am finding in my work that by far, most Western Christians, have not even heard the word “missional” and have no idea what it means. For my money the conversation is just beginning and I am finding many FPW’s (former pew warmers) who are getting turned on to it and asking “where have you folks been hiding this stuff?”

    Blessings. great job.


  7. Jim, Well said!

    Many in my “boomer” church are just beginning to be “turned on” to the missional paradigm also. They’re starting to ask the the same questions I was asking many years ago and it’s refreshing to see them get excited.

    I for one am I not ready to give up on the word, but we do need to help illuminate and clarify the missional concept better through story telling.

  8. This is an important interview, and yes, the word *missional* is worth fighting to save with its original flavor. Just because language is fluid because culture is fluid, that doesn’t mean words don’t have meaning. It’s too bad we’ve ended up with the same dilution or misusion of *missional* that happened with *emerging* and other terms before it. However, one exciting thing that I look forward to, based on Dr. Nelson’s comments, is how next generations may take our wrestlings over words, and use our results to formulate better questions that befit their own cultural circumstances, than to use our answers as their answers.

    P.S. I’d suggest that the wrestling over missional identity and methodology goes much farther back than Gospel and Our Culture Network, Bosch, and Newbigin. Such as Roland Allen, who was asking similar categories of cross-cultural ministry and identity questions, and first published *Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?* in 1912.


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