I have an allergy to the word ‘missional’, probably because five years ago it basically didn’t exist and now it pops up everywhere. I’m not sure what’s wrong with good old ‘missions-minded’ or “a community that reaches out” or “outward focused”. But regardless, Tullian Tchividjian makes a good point talking about Jonah in his book Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels
“We can’t escape a stark contrast in this story—the tribal mindset of Jonah versus the missional mindset of God. These two mindsets involve fundamentally different values.
The highest value of a community with a tribal mindset is self-preservation. A tribal community exists solely for itself, and those within it keep asking, “How can we protect ourselves from those who are different from us?”…
But in a missional minded community, the highest value isn’t self-preservation but self-sacrifice. A missional community exists not primarily for itself but for others. It’s a community that’s willing to be inconvenienced and discomforted, willing to expend itself for others on God’s behalf…
Jonah represents the best of a tribal mindset, the absolute best. He’s like the trophy for the tribal person.
And God—ever-gracious, ever-pursuing, ever-compassionate—serves as the trophy for the mission-minded.
Jonah runs from his enemies; God runs toward his enemies.
Jonah serves himself; God serves the world.”