Mission is the result of God’s initiative, rooted in God’s purposes to restore and heal creation. “Mission” means “sending,” and it is the central biblical theme describing the purpose of God’s action in human history. God’s mission began with the call of Israel to receive God’s blessings in order to be a blessing to the …
The term “missional” is an attempt to move the discussion beyond too-narrow definitions of mission as merely one among the various programs of the church, and to find ways to think about the church’s calling and practice today in light of the fact of the multicultural global church, what Archbishop Temple famously called “the great new fact of our time.” To describe the church as “missional” is to make a basic theological claim, to articulate a widely held but also widely ignored consensus regarding the fundamental purpose of the Christian church. Rather than seeing mission as, at best, one of the necessary prongs of the church’s calling, and at worst as a misguided adventure, it must be seen as the fundamental, the essential, the centering understanding of the church’s purpose and action. The church that Jesus intended, to use Gerhard Lohfink’s provocative book title, is missional by its very nature. The church that the triune God gathers, upbuilds, and sends, to use the profoundly missional outline of Karl Barth’s ecclesiology in volume IV of his Church Dogmatics, exists to continue the service of witness.
(Via Darrell L. Guder / Princeton Theological Seminary)
November 14, 2015