Original Research - Practical Theology

The use of the term ‘DNA’ as a missiological metaphor in contemporary Church narratives

Scott Andrews
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 2 | a3451 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i2.3451 | © 2016 Scott Andrews | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2016 | Published: 02 December 2016


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Abstract

Missiologists propose that the Church and mission are inseparable as the Church has its very being because there is mission, and it is the Missio Dei which constitutes the Church. In recent history the Anglican Church has interpreted this as the essential ‘DNA’ of the local church which is to be a missional community. The church’s mission therefore is presented as the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the Son’s mission from the Father to the world. In other words, it is proposed that the Church is both the fruit of God’s mission and the agent of His mission. But, in order to communicate this relationship between Church and mission in a postmodern context, the use of new metaphors and new terminologies, which are derived from our contemporary context, is shaping new ways of thinking. An exploration of the development of missional churches considers the significance of developing and embedding what has become referred to as missional DNA or mDNA at every level of the organisation of the Church. This mDNA is the outward model of missional behaviour that compels the whole church to reach a lost world. It can be seen from evidence-based, case study research amongst large churches in the UK that there is consistency in the adoption and use of the term DNA by its leadership in reference to the local church’s values and its attitude towards mission. This article explores the hypothesis that the term DNA is commonly accepted amongst local churches as a contributor to a contemporary language that forms the narrative of the Church and explores its feasibility and shortcomings as an adopted missiological metaphor.

Keywords

DNA; Theology; Mission; Church growth

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