Being missional means we act more like a rescue force that is determined to stay until all are rescued rather than a commando unit which occasionally enters hostile territory to harass the enemy! Being missional means we endeavor to develop real and meaningful relationships with those that God, in His providence, has brought into our lives—to first demonstrate the love of Christ and then be ready with an answer for the hope that is within us.
Craven contrasted missional with evangelical because of
…what many 20th century churches came to effectively define and teach as the Church’s only mission in the world: evangelism. While the modern evangelical movement has much to commend it, one possible side effect, which is proving counterproductive, is the reduction of the Christian’s role in the world to nothing more than evangelism at its most basic level. In other words, the only thing that really matters is sharing the personal plan of salvation. The practical effect of this has been the substitution of immersion and engagement in the world with programmatic “interactions” with the world—what I call “drive-by evangelism.” While there are a number of negative effects I could associate with this shift, suffice it to say, at the very least it has rendered Christianity less relevant by reducing it to nothing more than a “private” belief.
Missional may be a "new" word, but it takes us back to the approach of Christ and the early disciples as they "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). We need to be careful about applying it to any area of life. God is always missional, but all too quickly we move from being involved in what He is doing to asking Him to be involved in what we're doing. Changing the description is useless unless the content changes also.
A missional approach to Christian education may transform all kinds of things including the entrance requirements of Christian schools. Who needs to know the good news that God is related to every aspect of the universe He created in the present and future as well as the past? Those who are already part of His family or those who have not yet heard? Where should children and young people encounter Christ and His Body? In a classroom in the midst of their "real life" and work or at the peripherals in recreational activities during the evenings or on weekends? Who most needs a loving, supportive community? Those with superior skills, stable homes, and plentiful resources or those with learning difficulties, challenging environments and few resources? What does the world, and the individual hear, when we say, "We aren't equipped to help you" while proclaiming the sufficiency of Christ?
Jesus may want us to continue all the good things that He initiated in the past, but He may be taking us out of our security zone to be involved in the adventure of living and serving in relationship with the one who makes ALL things new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I definitely need to consider that as a trip is planned to explore the possibility of being involved in starting a teacher training center in Thailand to serve SE Asia. Where in the world does God want me? What in the world does He want me to do?