Towards a Missional Ecclesiology 

Michael James Breen


In the midst of significant social and institutional challenges, first in Brixton (London, England) and then in Sheffield  (England), the churches that I led not only grew numerically but also began to develop missional models of ecclesia now used in many parts of the world. 

In this missional contexts we first experimented with the extended family models of ecclesia, which we believed most closely reflected the New Testament oikos, and developed what are now called Missional Communities. And here; based upon on the impact of local social crises and my reflections on the pre-passion mission narratives of the first the disciples (Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9 & 10), that I first discovered, taught and published 'The Person of Peace' strategy (Breen 1991).

Attending to this missional ecclesiology and praxis in Sheffield I saw what has been termed a ‘Minster Church’ – combining both 'Roman' and 'Celtic' forms of mission (Finney 1996) – develop, and an entire congregation released in mission across the city of Sheffield.  Since then St. Thomas has became a model of the Missional Church Movement and a global center of training and vision for mission and discipleship.

In this paper I tentatively advance, taking into account the social and philosophical milieu of the community in question, a theological reflection on the strategies developed in this test case and offer suggestions for further research in the field.



Discipleship; Mission; Ecclesiology; Oikos; Missional Communities; Person of Peace

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