Definitions of Missional Terms

What do leaders in the Franconia Conference mean when they use certain terms in their communication? Below are some of these frequently used terms and acronyms with suggested meanings.

“Equipping” Leading with a bias toward intentionally investing in the spiritual, professional, relational, and emotional growth of people through personal and group experiences, as well as formal programs of training in order to increase leadership capacity.

“Empowering” Leading in a manner that affirms, releases, and connects others to the resources that create personal fulfillment in following the call of God in their lives.

“Embracing” To accept and deeply commit to the purposes of God’s mission in the world.

Accountability The willingness of leaders and all Christians to live openly and with integrity with their sisters and brothers, ready to “give and receive counsel” or to offer encouragement and correction to one another in love and grace as needed.

Anabaptist A way of following Christ that reflects the Biblical values, beliefs, and ideals of 16th century European Christians who insisted on “believer’s baptism” and were nicknamed Anabaptist, meaning to baptize again. Key Biblical/Anabaptist ideas include the church as a community, following Jesus in all of life, living as peacemakers with love for enemies, and a mission of evangelism and reconciliation in the world.

Catalytic Leadership that stimulates levels of change beyond the initial steps, with the capacity for deeper and more far-reaching consequences than fully anticipated.

Christian formation Those efforts of the church to help one another grow as disciples of Jesus and to be formed more and more into the likeness of Christ, including all dimensions of human and interpersonal experience.

Discernment The process of prayerfully listening to the voice of the Spirit through the Scriptures, the community of believers, the previous experiences of the church, and the present work of God, and making wise decisions grounded in this process (Matthew 18:8-20).

Formational Settings and experiences that touch our hearts and result in emotional, attitudinal, values, and relational change.

Global Recognizing that the church encompasses people in all nations of the world, and that the minority church in North American will only be faithful to its call and mission as it receives and learns from God’s people in other cultures and nations.

God’s mission To graciously love, forgive, and recreate us and all creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. God’s mission is for the church to be an alternative community that witnesses to and models God’s intentions for the world (II Corinthians 5:17-18).

Intercultural Living out the mission of God across the cultural, racial, economic, ethnic, and national boundaries that tend to divide and stereotype people, toward the goal of being one reconciled people who are transformed by our relationships as we experience now the vision of Revelation 7:9-12.

Leader A person called by God with the gift and capacity to initiate, envision, empower, articulate, and guide others in living out the purposes of God for the church.

Missional A congregation shaped by participating in the creative love and reconciling mission of God through Christ, where every part of the church and its activities are guided by and focused toward fulfilling God’s mission in the world.

Transformation The process of change (conversion) or being made new in Christ so that one lives out of the energy and contagion of the Holy Spirit, dependent on God’s power for significant and lasting change in individuals, congregations, and communities.