Q & R: Missional? Emerging?

Here’s the Q:
I am currently doing a research paper on the Emerging Church and the
Missional Church and how the two terms relate to each other for my
missiology studies. I would greatly appreciate any academic material
you could send me relating to these topics. My studies reveal that you
are one of the leading founders of the term Emerging Church. What is
your involvement and knowledge on the Missional Church?
Here’s the R:

Thanks for your question. Short answer … I think that everyone who would feel resonance with “emerging church” would also feel resonance with “missional church.” I think some who feel resonance with “missional church” would not want to be associated with “emerging church.” The reasons are complicated, but mostly relate to how tied people are to traditional theological and ecclesial assumptions.
Both terms, as you know, are defined differently by different people. As I understand the terms, missional church reflects the belief that God’s sphere of concern is not just the church, but all of creation. The church, in missional theology, is God’s agent of transformation and healing for the sake of the world. In missional theology, the gospel is a transformation plan, not an evacuation plan. It is focused not on airlifting souls to heaven, but on transforming lives so they can be agents of God’s will being done “on earth as in heaven.” The emerging church works from those missional premises and asks, “If that is true, what does that mean for the church? How will the church change to cooperate with God’s saving love for all creation?” Those are easy words to say, but deeply challenging – and unsettling – and liberating – if we take them seriously.
My books, especially Secret Message of Jesus, Everything Must Change, We Make the Road by Walking, and my upcoming book, The Great Spiritual Migration, explore these issues in greater depth, and I hope they will be helpful in your studies.