Missional Spirituality: Practices for Developing Missional Disciples Among Emerging Adult University Students
The prayer of Jesus in John 17 invites all who follow Jesus into a way of life marked by radical intimacy with the triune God, authentic community with the members of the church, and mission in the world in the way of Jesus. These three elements of missional spirituality form disciples to partner with God in God's mission. Indiana Wesleyan University seeks to enable students to become world changers who partner with God in God's mission in the world. This Professional Project argues that developing world changing students necessitates that emerging adults develop the practices of a John 17 missional spirituality, forming them to become missional disciples, with missional imaginations, who follow the call of Christ to reveal the present reality of the Kingdom of God.
Chapter one proposes that the inherited cultural imagination of emerging adults impedes them in becoming world changers who join in the mission of God. Instead of understanding their lives as part of the unfolding narrative of biblical Christianity, many emerging adults are instead following a counterfeit religion masquerading as Christianity. Chapter two provides a review of missional literature, including the writings of Leslie Newbigin and the Gospel and Our Culture Network, highlighting the historical development of missional theology and practice. Chapter three develops a missional hermeneutic of the Bible leading to a framework for missional spirituality based on the prayer of Jesus in John 17.
The remaining chapters develop practices of missional spirituality. Chapters four and five provide an argument for the importance of spiritual practices, calling for a move from information based to formation based discipleship. Chapter six presents research results of site visits and interviews with pastors of four missional congregations. The missional practices of these congregations inform the development of a rule of life for emerging adult university students, found in chapter seven. This rule of life leads students in practicing the three components of a John 17 missional spirituality, forming them to develop missional imaginations and partner with God in God's mission. Chapter eight presents ideas for expanded implementation and further research.