Liturgical AND missional it’s not either or

By guest blogger Gary Reinecke,

Part 1 of a 3-part series on liturgical churches

For the last 20+ years I’ve been working more frequently with liturgical churches. By liturgical, I mean those churches that are trying to incorporate the ancient traditions of the church into their ministries. They seek to integrate symbols, rituals, art, sound, and scents into the worship experience, creating a sacred space and ambiance. These churches that have a high view of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and have a commitment to the Great Commission. In essence, liturgy is the work of the people.

And what have these churches, especially the new plants, wanted to focus on in our coaching relationships? A growing desire for missional engagement in their community. Many of them have a strong social justice component, which serves as their core missional DNA. They are aware of needs in the community that their churches can address. I’ve worked with liturgical churches that have provided monthly breakfasts for the homeless and worked together with other congregations to clean up debris from a devastating fire in the as a sign of unity in the body of Christ.

I’ve also seen renewed emphasis in liturgical circles on church planting and multiplication, often done as collaborative efforts by more than one group. The Church Multiplication Initiative is one such effort that focuses on younger leaders planting new churches. Another initiative, FiveTwo, has a vision for 2,000 new ministry starts–churches, missional communities, outreach ministries–by the year 2017, with new churches apprenticing new church planters as they plant.

So if you hear a church described as “liturgical,” don’t assume that means it’s not missional. The two terms are increasingly going together.