In part one of this post I introduced how historically there has existed a divide between those who studied Ecclesiology and those that study Missiology. I shared with you the statement by my pastor friend, indicating their desire to see their Missiology reflect their Ecclesiology. In essence, they are saying we believe that our understanding of the church needs to inform our understanding and practice of Mission. While I wholeheartedly agree, our understanding of God's mission needs to inform the way we structure and practice church. Without a Biblical understanding of both Ecclesiology and Missiology and how they work together, we run the risk of missing the importance of both and diminishing the importance of either one.
Many churches exist today without any sense of God's purpose
If missiology is not informing ecclesiology we run the risk of allowing the church to develop along lines that are not Biblical, much less missional. Many churches exist today without any sense of God's purpose for man or for the church. They are living within an endless cycle of programs all designed towards self--improvement. When the church loses its focus on mission we betray one of the primary functions of our existence. With this loss, the church increasingly turns inward and loses its evangelical fervency. His church was to be the mechanism by which his Kingdom would be advanced in the earth.
If Ecclesiology is not informing our Missiology, we lack the framework for understanding the means Christ intended for fulfilling His mission on the earth. Our Kingdom mission was meant to be embodied in the church--the church is God's means. Christ's intention was that the Good News would be expressed in and through His body the Church and that the whole world could look upon His
Our objective is to see people joined to other Bible believers
church as a sign and wonder testifying of His love. When we separate the mission from the church we can be guilty of losing sight of the relational element of the Great Commission. God wants a family. It is not enough to think strategically about our Task. We cannot think of people as objects to be conquered. The objective of our mission reaches beyond evangelizing and even discipling. Our objective is to see people joined to other Bible believers, or new faith communities (churches) formed capable of locally facilitating the advance of the Kingdom. Mission is about restoring order to all of creation and restoring the creation to right relationship with the Creator. When this is accomplished there will be no more mission, but the family of the redeemed, Christ's body and the Church will stretch into eternity.
In conclusion, the church has a mission to facilitate the local and global expansion of God's eternal Kingdom. The objective of our mission is and will always be the establishment and strengthening of local faith communities, capable of completing God's redemptive mission. Thus the cycle continues.
Hopefully, as we continue this study we can truly see how vitally important it is that the Bible serves as the basis for studying ecclesiology and missiology. It is my desire that we see the manner in which each study informs our understanding of the other. Then we will see once again, that there can be no separation between the church and its mission, without destroying the integrity of both.