Sent into the World
by Chris DiVietro
What have we seen so far? In the Old Testament, the temple was the focal point of worship. As the people of God worshipped, the nations saw and were attracted in. In the New Testament, however, Jesus came to earth as the true and better temple. He literally “tabernacled” among humanity – He was sent to us, and so sends us out (John 20:21).
God’s people are therefore sent into the world, and in being sent can be considered missional or on mission. Being missional is at the very heart of our denomination’s identity.
The church’s mission flows from God’s mission—God did not make a mission for His church, God made a church for His mission. Mission arises from the heart of God himself, and is communicated from his heart to ours. Mission is the global outreach of the global people of a global God. The very being of the church is constituted in and through its participation in God’s mission in the world. The church is not an end in itself and mission is not optional.
It would be inaccurate to say the church must become missional. Rather, the church— when expressing its true identity—is considered a missional manifestation of God’s redemptive work in and through creation.
Mission is not to be primarily understood in functional terms: mission cannot be defined by the number of “missions” activities. Rather, mission must be understood as the fundamental nature and being of church—when rightly considered, the missional church is an authentic expression of the church’s true identity. Emil Brunner famously stated, “The church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” Mission cannot be simply be reduced to strategies or programs.
The missional church is not just another phase of church life but a full expression of who the church is and what it is called to be and do. To be missional means to move beyond our church preferences and make decisions locally as well as globally for the sake of those not yet reached with the gospel.
Our concluding point, then, is this: To whom are you sent? What preferences are you willing to surrender for the sake of the gospel? How are you embodying the mission of God today?