Original Research

The missional church structure and the priesthood of all believers (Ephesians 4:7–16) in the light of the inward and outward function of the church

Timothy A. van Aarde
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 1 | a1709 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v38i1.1709 | © 2017 Timothy A. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2016 | Published: 18 May 2017

About the author(s)

Timothy A. van Aarde, Department of Humanities Research, North-West University, South Africa; Study Group: Ecclesial Futures, The International Association of Missions Studies, United Kingdom; Biblical Interpretation, Veritas College International, Australia


The missional church is a new consciousness which has been raised for the missionary sending of the church in the West to be a witness for the Kingdom of God in its own context. The missional church has returned mission to the centre of ecclesiology. A structural functioning of the missional church and its relation to existing church structures are essential to rescue the missional church from simply becoming the latest fad. The present missional church conversation in advocating for an organic church structure undermines existing institutional church structures. A dynamic functioning church structure in which the inward and outward dimensions of the church’s single ecclesiological structure are able to function in a cohesive unity is set out in Ephesians. The function of the gifted persons in the task of equipping of the believers to fulfil their missional calling, vocation and function is paramount to the healthy integration of the missional church model in existing mission and church paradigms and for it to function within the framework of existing church structures.

Interdisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article suggests that a dynamic unity exists between the ecclesiology of the church and missional structure and function of the church. The article explores interdisciplinary implications from the fields of the New Testament and missiology.


Missional Church; priesthood of believers; institutional church; organic church; dynamic church; diaconia; oikonomia; inward and outward


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