Missional as identity

Mission as identity

For many people mission has become an event. We have guest services. Evangelistic courses. Street preaching. Youth programmes. There’s nothing wrong with these things. But mission is more than a slot into our schedules. It is an identity and a lifestyle. Mission is about living all of life, ordinary life, with gospel intentionality.

Missional communities

We are called to be missional communities – not lone evangelists. The life of the covenant community is to be a light to the nations. ‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:35) Our love for one another reveals our gospel identity. The world will know that Jesus is the Son of God sent by God to be Saviour of the world through the community life of believers (John 17:20-23). This does not primarily mean inviting people to meetings. It is about shared life into which other people are welcomed.

Scattered communities of light

Imagine a globe in darkness with one point of light. That was Israel in the Old Testament, one point of light in a dark world, drawing the nations to God. And New Testament believers are still be communities of light, drawing people to God. We still draw people in towards the centre. But the centre is no longer one geographic location in Palestine, but a hundred, thousand communities of light scattered across the globe. We are not be like a lighthouse, occasionally sending a beam of light across the city. We are to be communities of light and hope and love in a dark and broken world at street level, on the street corner.
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6 thoughts on “Missional as identity

  1. Amen here, Tim. Similar points grow out of the new book THE TELLIS AND THE VINE (which you reviewed in December). Always useful to call the whole body of Christ to be busy for Christ, as communities of light (and as “the pillar of truth” in a place). db

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  3. Thanks Tim.

    I am curious how you would define “communities of light”?

    Are these churches? parts of the church?

    or does this depend on the context of the particular church?

    Thanks so much again for your work.


  4. Communities of light could be both – both missional communities within churches and churches. We have missional communities which we call ‘gospel communities’ (though we often refer to them as ‘churches’ or ‘congregations’). And we have a ‘gathering’ which we describe as ‘a gathering of gospel communities’ (as opposed to ‘a gathering with gospel communities’). But I’m not too worried what people call them.

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