The Church on Mission

A Biblical Vision for Transformation among All People

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Much in the way that a mission or purpose statement defines an organization, telling why the organization exists and what it is attempting to achieve, so too the Bible defines God’s purpose and mission for his people, the church. One formulation of a mission statement for the church is that it exists to glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all people.

The Church on Mission unpacks each aspect of that mission statement by examining key biblical texts, reflecting upon them theologically, and considering implications for the life and ministry of the church. The topics addressed provide a helpful stimulus for church leaders, ministry teams, and other discussion groups to consider how they might better understand their mission and more intentionally participate in God’s purposes for them. Although the discussion questions in this study guide focus primarily on the ministry of a local church, ministry teams and mission organizations can simply insert their ministry where the question refers to a church. Discussion leaders may also want to encourage participants to consider their own personal roles in helping the church fulfill its calling.

The discussion questions here are intended to stimulate practical application for each of the six chapters of the book. A concluding discussion session is also provided to help summarize implications. These sessions assume that the corresponding chapter has been read in advance by group participants in preparation for discussion. Page numbers refer to relevant locations in the book. Each discussion session includes more questions than can be adequately addressed in one meeting, so group leaders may want to focus on only the most relevant questions or else divide each chapter into two discussion sessions.

As group participants read each chapter, they are encouraged to note key insights, points of agreement or disagreement, and questions or issues that they would like to explore further. Each session begins with a Scripture reading and with participants sharing their thoughts.

Sessions should open and close with prayer, seeking God’s guidance and insight. Christians who honor the Bible have varying opinions on some of the issues raised by these topics. Such disagreements can lead to fresh insights as long as participants dialogue in a spirit of respect, humility, and openness. We experience the transformative power of God’s Word by allowing it to challenge our assumptions and to shape us in ways that are often uncomfortable or countercultural. Churches and other ministries that desire to be more effective in fulfilling their God-given mission must be willing, from time to time, to reevaluate their priorities in light of biblical teaching. This, too, can be a controversial, but refreshing and rewarding, exercise.

The church has been described as “the people of God called out of the world, placed in the world, and sent to the world” (p. 3). The church is God’s missionary people: gathered to be scattered, to grow and to go, called to be with Jesus that we might be sent out for Jesus (Mark 3:14; see pp. 3–5, 13–15). This study guide is offered in the hope that it will lead individuals, local churches, and ministry teams to a deeper appreciation of our calling and a more focused commitment to being God’s missionary people.

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