Jesus' words to Simon Peter on the occasion of his momentous confession of Christ begins with a promise of blessing. "Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah..." (Matthew 16:17). If this passage really is the genesis of missional enterprise, as I contend, then leaders and churches with a missional heart can expect blessings from Christ.
Regrettably, some commentator or biblical interpreter has reduced the exalted term makarios to mean happy. So, the beatitudes of Jesus are now the be-happy-tudes,Christ's guide to a happy life. OK, I'm no scholar and am not qualified to parse the verbs and translate the words accurately. I know a little Greek and he runs a burger joint up in Greenville. Still, my heart tells me that makarios is more than happy.
You see happy is circumstantial, an emotion defined by what is happening around you. Overdrawn at the bank equals unhappy. Surplus in the account this month = happy. Happy fluctuates with the times, up and down, alternatively happy and unhappy, depending on what pulls your chain. Here today, gone tomorrow, that is happy.
Makarios is a spiritual condition that is constant and consistent. You can be blessed and be unhappy. My faith surrounds me with joy and peace, eternal virtues that attend my personal relationship with Jesus. When I was taking chemo-therapy I was often unhappy. But, joy and peace and blessedness punctuated every single day. So, for me, blessed is more than happy.
But, that's not the point here. Jesus promised blessedness to Simon Peter on the basis of his recognition of the Christ, the starting point from which a missional heart grows. This blessedness is certainly not a heavenly ATM, and is not the promise of financial gain, numerical growth, or success in ministry. But, the recognition of Christ is where the missional ideal begins. Blessings accrue to those leaders and churches with a missional heart.
In Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2009), Reggie McNeal writes, "Churches that thrive will become more externally focused in their ministry agenda and more intentional in developing their people." This is, of course, defining the missional congregation. Thriving is the blessing part, the expectation that attends the new scorecard. You see, Jesus pronounced a blessing over Simon Peter, and then launched the mission.
When Jesus and his mission is at the front, we can expect blessings! Pretty simple---