HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
VAN DER MERWE, J. Christo. Missional congegrations in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa: theologically substantiated. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2011, vol.67, n.3, pp. 22-31. ISSN 2072-8050.
The Christian churches are experiencing a major paradigm shift as they attemp to navigate the 20th century. Around the mid-fourth century to the mid-twentieth century CE, often referred to as the 'age of Christendom', Christianity and the institutional church had a central place, which was culturally supported in the public life of most Western societies. Today it is impossible to talk about culture without using the plural. Society has changed into what is called a 'pluriverse' of cultures determined by aspects such as geography, race, ethinicity, class, and worldview. For Christian denominations, this paradigm shift has become exceedingly challenging. This article discerns and experiments with approaches to ministry that are vitally challenged by the many current understandings of what it means to be church today. By taking the concept missio Dei as point of departure the article describes the church as being called to be a missional church and the Christian leaders as being called to exercise missional leadership. The article addresses the notion of missio trinitatis as fundamental to the understanding of the missio Dei. God is one who lives by sharing, and the Trinity is the doctrine of a God whose very essence is sharing, thus the consequence is that those who believe in such a God must live a similar life. Matthew 28:19-20 serves as basis for a discussion on the 'embodiment' of the church's missional theology as well as a basis for the development of a missional praxis. The fundamental conviction argued in this article is that there can be no place for a future church that is not missional in essence.