What On Earth Is A Missional Priest?
That’s a fair question, especially as spell-check refuses to accept “missional” as a legitimate word!
A Missional Priest is called to cultivate an environment in which God’s people can discern Divine Direction and subsequent activities for them and the wider community in which the Church is located. Emphasizing these activities are God’s, neither the priest’s nor the peoples, not as social service agency but mission, there must be an ongoing commitment to transformative prayer.
A Missional Priest is called to empower the Vestry and people as faithful, effective, and efficient ministers in the best use of their spiritual gifts, talents, and skills. The major thrust is to better understand ourselves as gathered for Worship, centered and transformed by Word and Sacrament, and sent to actualize God’s Mission in daily life. Highlighting the people’s religious imagination and identity through the narrative of Holy Scripture is central to this specialized call.
A Missional Priest is called to steer away from a historically conditioned hierarchy for authority’s sake towards cultivating and preparing lay leaders for a more Missional Future. As the Lord God Almighty is a Missionary God, the Missional Priest and Vestry are charged with determining a vision for equipping and mobilizing the Church to connect more expansively with a radically changing world.
A Missional Priest is called to focus on the traditional, orthodox biblical, theological, and sacramental framework to seek emboldened practices reflecting God’s love. For priest and people the goal is to understand God as shorthand for the Holy Trinity, that holy community indwelling with each other and us. As we grow into this indwelling of the Social and Sending Trinity, we embody more creatively God’s reign locally and globally in the here and now.
A Missional Priest is to lead towards deeper understanding of mission defined as connecting God’s work in Redemption to God’s continuous work in Creation. As the Deacon challenges us each Sunday with The Dismissal: “Let us go forth into the world in the Name of Christ”, to embody this framing and extending of our Missional branding seven days a week. As the Church is the fruit of God’s Mission in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, so we are not to be enclosed upon ourselves but open to sharing our Lord’s sacrificial generosity to the Creation he died to save.
After decades in the Church, being Grace Church’s Missional Priest is decidedly my most exciting and challenging call. May the Holy Spirit and your prayers enable this new ministry.
In great humility and servant-hood,