Community as the Goal (and Therefore Means) of Mission
"Mission is God acting through the church-community." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(1) The starting point for any faithful understanding of the nature and mission of the church is an understanding of the nature and mission of the God who has created the church and sent it into the world. This "theocentric" focus on missions, often referred to as Missio Dei (the Mission, or Sending, of God), has risen in influence over the last fifty years.
(2) It has relocated the emphasis on the origins of mission from being one of many tasks given to the church to being the singular motivation that drives every action of God in the world. The reason that the church is to be a missional people is that its God is a missional God, the three Persons of the Trinity sending and being sent into the world to announce and enact God's Reign of shalom and agape.
(3) Therefore, if we are to understand what it means for the church of Jesus Christ to be sent into the world, we must know what it says about the character of the Triune God that the Head of that church - Jesus Christ, God the Son - and the Breath that fills, animates, and empowers that church - God the Holy Spirit- are sent by God the Father into the world.
Are we a missional community, that reflects the Triune God's character? Do we understand the meaning of sending and being sent? Are we passionate for mission, just as God is?