The Long Process of Becoming a Missional Church

Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) is located in suburban Dallas. Begun some twenty years ago it is not a large church (about 300 attenders) but it has had an effective ministry in several important areas for two decades. John McCracken, a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (PA) ’99, is the senior pastor. John is a Texan, who graduated from Baylor University, and is a man profoundly committed to leading this congregation toward becoming a vital missional church. For this reason I spoke today on: "Christ’s Kingdom and the Missio Dei" and will speak this evening on: "The Church: Not Sending But Sent."

ACT 3 is committed to advancing the missional mandate of Christ into the third millennium. I simply cannot let this theme go. I see this emphasis as directly linked with my theology of revival and reformation, by Word and Spirit. This is also why I have such longings and hopes for what is called the "emergent church." To reject the emergent church outright is a serious mistake I believe. Any new movement will have ups and downs, both excesses and major contributions to make to the kingdom. Those who refuse to listen and learn will miss the moment that is before us.

Trinity is a church that seems content to not make "mega-church" strategy its goal. It is open to the idea that its DNA should be rooted in becoming a missional community not just a bigger, full-service church. This means that it will have to go against the grain of the general ecclesial emphasis of suburban Dallas Christianity. I am hopeful that this will happen at Trinity thus I am here to preach and teach as a servant of the King and his kingdom.

Trinity has done a lot right over twenty years. One thing that was very obvious today was the practice of a thoughtful and Reformed liturgy. All the basic elements were present, except the Lord’s Supper, which should be celebrated every Sunday as Calvin clearly believed and most Calvinists in America do not. Today’s liturgy was deeply and consciously rooted in the holiness of God and the advance of the kingdom. I said to the pastor, just before I entered the pulpit, "If I can’t preach in this context I should leave the ministry." I wept tears of real joy throughout the service. It was a fine Christ-centered service of worship. I pray the Word preached will have deep impact on this fine church.

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