Pastoral Ministry in Missional Church by Dr. Michael Goheen

In a MicroConference with Austin PlantrDr. Michael Goheen (professor and author) shared on the “Biblical Missiology in the Local Church.”

Here are some of the insights he shared on the pastoral ministry in the missional church:

Three aspects to ministry:

  • Nurturing our new life in Christ
  • Embodying our witness in the world
  • Organizing the congregation for nurture and witness

Nurturing Our New Life in Christ:

  • Preaching
  • Worship
  • Sacraments
  • Fellowship
  • Prayer
  • Training parents for their role
  • Pastoral care


  • First, preaching brings us face to face with Christ as he really is. “Christ comes to us clothed in the robes of Scripture.”
  • Second, preaching Christ invites God’s people into the true story of the world.
  • Third, preaching confronts the other stories and idols shaping God’s people.
  • Fourth, preaching must proclaim the gospel (proclamation) and its implications (teaching) as power of God unto salvation.
  • Fifth, preaching orients God’s people to the world. (Too often, we act like a postman who thinks all the letters in his bag are for him!)


“…to reach this growing post-Christendom society in the West will obviously take more than what we ordinarily call an evangelistic church; it will take a missional church. This church’s worship is missional in that it makes sense to nonbelievers in that culture, even while it challenges and shapes Christians with the gospel. Its people are missional in that they are so outwardly focused, so involved in addressing the needs of the local community, that the church is well-known for its compassion. The members of a missional church also know how to contextualize the gospel, carefully challenging yet also appealing to the baseline cultural narratives of the society around them. Finally, because of the attractiveness of its people’s character and lives, a missional church will always have some outsiders who are drawn into its community to incubate and explore the Christian faith in its midst.” – Tim Keller

  • Worship that is comprehensible enough to make sense to nonbelievers.
  • Worship that is thick enough to challenge and shape the church for mission.


  • Baptism as a commitment to counter-cultivation.

“To baptize… is in a sense a culturally subversive: it is a commitment to cultivate and give a cultic vision… which is a radical alternative to the social-economic ‘cultivation system’ that is the Commodity Form. It is also, and more significantly, the incorporation… into the very life of a triune, covenantal, personal God.” – John Kavanaugh

  • Not just a personal commitment, but a public declaration

Fellowship – Gifts = upbuilding, outward-face

“For the sake of this upbuilding God equips the church with all sorts of gifts and powers that he places at its disposal, as also with various kinds of ministries that must further its upbuilding (Eph. 4:11 ff.; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; cf. Rom. 12:3, 6ff.; 1 Cor. 12:4ff., 28ff.). In particular the gathering of the church serves this upbuilding (1 Cor. 14:26); it is most closely bound up with the proclamation of the Word of God (1 Cor. 14:3; Rom. 15:20), and is directed toward the right corporate manifestation of the church in the world.” – Herman Ridderbos


  • Shovel (John Calvin)
  • Strategic position (Andrew Murray)
  • Frontline prayer rather than maintenance prayer (C. John Miller)

Training Parents

  • Baptism, covenant, Lord’s Supper
  • Family worship and prayer
  • What are your priorities? You will do what you want with the time that you have.
  • Children and worship
  • Play, quality time, activities, family traditions, befriending children
  • Discipline, personality differences
  • Instilling compassion and respect
  • Educational options
  • Knowing our culture
  • Technology in the home

Pastoral Care

  • In our consumeristic world, the church too often is seen as a vendor of religious goods and services serving the customer.
  • Pastoral care in the grip of missional vision nurtures toward health for the sake of the world.

Living Faithfully in Culture

“The problem of leading a Christian life in a non-Christian society is now very present to us, and it is a very different problem from that of the accommodation between an Established Church and dissenters. It is not merely the problem of a minority in a society of individuals holding an alien belief. It is the problem constituted by our implication in a network of institutions from which we cannot dissociate ourselves: institutions the operation of which appears no longer neutral, but non-Christian. And as for the Christian who is not conscious of his dilemma—and he is in the majority—he is becoming more and more de-Christianized by all sorts of unconscious pressure: paganism holds all the most valuable advertising space.” – T.S. Eliot, 1946

Equipping the Congregation to Understand Culture

  • Preaching: encountering other stories
  • Teaching sessions and importance of worldview
  • Small study groups
  • Youth ministry

Training Laity

  • Laity play a crucial role in the witness of the church to the public truth of the gospel.
  • Congregations must find effective ways to train and equip the laity for calling.
  • This training and equipping has not really happened.
  • Most Christians are godly, well-meaning believers who are more shaped by the Western story than the biblical story.
  • Believers trained for their callings is desperately needed.

Congregations and Cultural Callings

  • A congregation that nourishes new life in Christ.
  • A congregation that supports folk in their callings.
  • A congregation

Contextual Evangelism

“… there is the obligation to strive make the challenge intelligble” – Kraemer

  • Needs to be both relevant and challenging
  • Relational evangelism – time spent with people
  • Radical humility
  • Dialogical rather than dogmatic

Connecting with Neighbors

  • “Opportunity blindness” is often our issue. We miss what we can do to serve others!
  • changing at
  • Pacesetting leaders

Mission and Missions

  • Mission: total task of the church to witness to gospel in all of life
  • Missions: establishing a witness where there is none or where it is weak
  • Not cross-cultural inter-church aid
  • Important dimension of whole mission of the church
  • This is our horizon!

Structure and the Church’s Calling

Are we structured to live out our calling?

Creating a Contrast Community in North America

  • A community of self-control and marital fidelity in a world saturated by sex.
  • A community of truth (kind humility and gentle boldness) in a world of uncertainty and suspicion.
  • A community that knows God’s presence in a secular world.
  • A community of generosity and enough in a world of consumption.
  • A community of forgiveness in a world of hatred, competition, violence, grudges, and revenge.
  • A community of praise in a world of narcissism.
  • A community of self-giving love in a world of selfishness and self-gratification.
  • A community of wisdom in a world of proliferating knowledge and information technology.
  • A community of humility in a world of arrogant self-interest.
  • A community of patience in a world of immediate gratification.
  • A community of depth in a culture of superficiality.
  • A community of cheerful seriousness in a culture of triviality.
  • A community committed to the important issues of our globe in a culture of apathy and indifference.
  • A community of self-giving in a culture of self-absorption, narcissism, and entitlement.
  • A community of joyful purpose in a culture “amusing ourselves to death.”
  • A community of joy in a world dominated by a frantic and hedonistic pursuit of pleasure.
  • A community of thankfulness in a world of entitlement.

Use this list in the following ways:

  1. As background goals for ministry. This is what we want to become!
  2. Explicit challenge to the congregation.
  3. Guide our teaching and preaching.
  4. Shape one’s own life as a model. “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
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