There’s a lot of talk and movement lately about the idea of “missional communities.” It seems to be the “next big thing” for a lot of people. But it is more than a fad. It is (or at least it should be) more than simply a re-packaging of the seeker-sensitive movement. Gospel-centered communities on mission as the organizing principle of a local church is a theological conviction playing itself out in everyday life.
While I am excited about the growing excitement surrounding this movement I am also a bit hesitant. I’m not sure that many of us have clearly understood, defined or practiced the real mission. This is probably true even in the church where I pastor. If you ask many missional community group leaders what the “mission” of their group is, we are quick to respond with something like: “Our mission is our street,” or “Our mission college students.”
While I understand the intent and appreciate the focus of these statements, I’ve come to realize that these things are not our mission. They are the context in which we pursue the mission. The mission is always to make disciples. That’s what we have been sent to do (Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:21, etc.). In the church where I pastor, I want us to come to the point that, if any of our people are asked about the “mission” of their Community Group, the immediate answer is “Make Disciples.” I want it to become so normative that it seems like a silly question like “Is water wet?” The mission is always to make disciples.
I’ve also been thinking about some of these ideas as they related broadly to reformed theology. In many of the circles in which I’ve traveled, it is always emphasized that the whole point of life is to glorify God. The aim of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever (in Piperian terms). While I wholeheartedly agree, I worry that the idea of “living for God’s glory” is often abstracted to the point that it has little daily practical outworking. It’s often personalized and internalized.
But what if the way we best “live for God’s glory” is by living as disciples who make disciples who make disciples? The two are not mutually exclusive but without the intentionality of making disciples “living for God’s glory” is just abstract enough that it poses the danger of just becoming a theological concept.
We don’t get to define our mission and we’ve been told how to live for God’s glory.