This study uses qualitative analysis to explore the missional transformation of women when theology, missiology, ecclesiology, and praxis are integrated in a missions context to develop the transformational value of missional competencies for an intentional missional formation for women. This study used the Missional Living Competencies developed by WMU®, an international missions organization that provides missions education and involvement for Southern Baptists and for the broader evangelical community. The Missional Living Competences address seven areas of growth that are essential in the life of a missional Christian: missional spirituality, missional Scripture study, missional worldview, missional relationships, missional communication, missional ministry, and missional leadership. While an intentional missional formation is essential for all believers, this study addressed women specifically. Women have historically been the primary voice for missions in their churches, and studies have shown that women represent at least 60 percent of the American church’s membership. Only as women are equipped for missional living will the churches of the twenty-first century become missional. The project that informed this study had two parts. The first part included two mission volunteer teams of thirteen women each that used a guide titled Word in the World Mission Analysis Guide (WWMAG) to explore theological, missiological, and ecclesiastical issues while doing planned and unplanned ministry activities in a volunteer mission context. Team members used the WWMAG to discuss their experience each day, with an emphasis upon God’s transformative work in their lives.
The second part was an inquiry of twelve selected women who lead and work with women’s programming in their churches. The selected women, representing diverse evangelical affiliations and cultures, were asked to: (1) explain their philosophy for the spiritual development of women; (2) evaluate the spiritual formation of women in their churches regarding its missional intent; (3) identify missional activities offered in their churches that address the seven areas of the Missional Living Competencies; and (4) list the resources they were using and identify resources that were needed for intentional missional formation.
This study explored Jesus’ words and actions that are the basis for understanding the Missional Living Competencies, how they are lived out in the believer’s life, and what an intentional missional formation might include. Jesus modeled an intentional missional formation as He went through the towns and villages preaching and bringing the good news. His journeys were not only missional; they were also formative in the lives of those who traveled with Him. All who traveled with Jesus heard the message of the gospel, observed Jesus teaching and healing, and joined Him in bringing the good news.
Four transformational principles were discerned as a result of the study: (1) intentional missional formation is biblical discipleship; (2) intentional missional formation becomes transformational when theology and praxis are integrated; (3) intentional missional formation in the church depends on leaders with missional philosophies for discipleship; and (4) intentional missional formation requires missional competencies and transformational methods to nurture believers into missional people.