Preaching is an interesting act. Once a week I take my place up front and I talk. What I talk about is up to me. Sometimes I choose the text and other times the text is chosen for me. What I’ve realized is how I can use that time to help cultivate various atmospheres in the church I serve.
Over the past ten years I have become increasingly convinced that a missional atmosphere in a church is not only important but essential in the 21st century. Others are leaning the same way. Church planters have an advantage here because they do not have to fight the history of a church that tends to delude any missional focus. Those of us in traditional churches have history that we have to battle.
To believe that one can take an already organized traditional church and transition it to a missional mindset quickly is naive. Perhaps we can add programs that look missional, or have missional components, but that is not the same as cultivating a missional mindset or atmosphere in the church’s “DNA.”
Preaching is an important aspect (although some missional church planters contest this point) of ministry because it can serve to gradually change the atmosphere in a church. Therefore, it should not be entered into lightly. The weekly sermon can be used to help cultivate a transition to missional.
When I preach, there are foundational assumptions that affect how I preach and even how I read the text for the day. These assumptions guide me. I also understand that they color (some might say cloud) how I read the passage, but we all have assumptions when we read any text. At least I know what some of mine are.
I believe the following assumptions are missional in nature. Because of that, I also believe, they are important for those in a traditional church who yearn to help a congregation transition to a missional mindset. I’m sure I have other assumptions. I’m also sure that I have some that are not reflected in this list. But, to start the conversation, here they are: