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God's Missional Team: 2 Key Questions that Churches need to Ask

Do you hear it? The sound of the team getting ready to run through the tunnel of cheerleaders and start the game. The music is pumping! The cheers are loud! The players love the game. The team captain is getting them fired up! She says, “We have the playbook, we know the plays, and it's time to get out there and win this thing! Who’s with me? Let’s go!” PAUSE. Wait a minute. Flip the script! Is that truly where it begins? 

In many churches, that is how it goes. We have the playbook (the Bible), and we know the plays (commissioning verses). We start going about the game of life, doing what the Bible says we are to do. Might all be good, but is it great? 

It's time for the church to start asking the right questions. Questions like “Who are we as players?” “Who’s the coach?” “Who created the game and why?” 

Now we can begin. Let’s open up the playbook, but ask the right questions. 
Genesis 1:27-28 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 


2 Key Questions that Churches Need to Ask

1. What is God’s mission? 

This question is a great place to start because it gets at the heart of why we are here. Starting with the why helps the church fully understand the mission of God. I've seen many churches where the members sat through meeting after meeting, committee after committee, processing what they are to do to reach the community. Churches need a process that addresses what we are called to be before discovering what we are to do

If a baseball player shows up to a basketball game reading from the wrestling team’s playbook, chances are the game will be a very interesting one. Most likely very chaotic! Yet, in many churches, that is how it happens. People in these churches are doing things that God has not graced them to do. Once a church figures out what the heart of the Father is, they can start to process how to be involved in that mission. Our being leads to our doing

 2. What is God doing in our community? 

This question will shift how the church functions because they know and see God at work around them. In the book Missional Church, Darrell Guder shares how, throughout history, there has been, “a shift from an ecclesiocentric (church-centered) view of mission to a theocentric (God-centered) one."  

A church-centered model is filled with many activities of mission but not fully functioning out of the overall mission of God. I know many churches that have operated like this for 50+ years because they have an idea that frequently is modeled after what another church in town is doing, so they do that. 

Yet God is at work in another way and giving the people the graces to do what He desires for them to do. Participating in what God is already doing brings about freedom in Him and not a burden. 

Some churches desire to stay busy doing all kinds of things like feeding the hungry, women's ministry outings, leading amazing worship services, helping to stop human trafficking, starting a youth center, helping at the nursing home, starting a community garden, starting a clothes closet, leading backyard Bible clubs, and standing up for the rights of immigrants, but God may not have given them the graces to do them all. So they should not. It's not that any of those things are bad, but ultimately we have to function out of where we see God at work in our lives, and how He is calling us as individuals and as a church to participate. 

A missional church and a missional pastor will promote partnerships among area churches. If a congregant feels a leading to do something that is already being done well in the community, maybe the best thing for them to do is to partner with other churches in the community that are already doing the work. 

By learning to function in the mission of God, we learn to operate out of our being and what we do brings about lasting change. Our doing is not just another task that we have to complete but something that gives life to the community and us because God is at the heart of it. 

God is on a mission, and He has a church that He desires to use to accomplish that mission. God does not have to or need to use us on His mission, but He chooses to do so because He loves His creation. 

He loves His family and God has called us to image Him in everything we do. 

This family-like team joined by the player/coach (God) runs out of the door, through the tunnel of angelic cheerleaders, running the plays that God designed just for us, His missional Church. “Now let’s get out there and live out that mission! Go, Team!” 


A church can oftentimes take on the identity of the leaders or the people in the congregation, but the true identity of any church rests in its creator. God made everything on the face of the earth and gave birth to the Church. When a church discovers that their true identity is found in God, they are driven by a purpose to do things that represent God positively. Depending on the identity of the church, it will either lead to unity or division. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 ESV

The identity of the Church is found in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who in the beginning created everything and made humanity in their image. Humanity was to image God to the rest of the world. Theologian Michael Heiser in His book What Does God Want? says, “Imaging God means being God’s representation on earth.” Our identity comes from our creator and our responsibility comes out of that identity as well. Christ is the perfect image of God and shares His image with His Church, which gives her the responsibility to image God to the rest of the world. If the Church is imaging God, then she will do the things of Christ, which will show her acting according to the responsibility given to her by God.

When the identity of the church is centered around the triune God and imaging God to the world, the church experiences unity. The Church and Christ are considered one flesh like a marriage between a husband and wife, which is referred to in Ephesians 5:31-32. As one flesh, the bride and the groom experience perfect love and ultimate unity. If the church is united around anything other than Christ, division starts to get a stronghold in the life of the church. In their book Exploring Ecclesiology, Brad Harper and Paul Metzger say, “Lack of unity in the body means that the church is not complete” Division shows that the church is having identity issues.

Our being leads to our doing, but not the other way around. The Church began by Christ and we are formed from our identity in Him. If a “church” begins from what they do “for Christ,” that shows they are having an identity crisis, and are being shaped more by pharisee-like thought, than what Christ desires for the Church. When the Church is united around Christ, we are showing the world that Christ was sent to love the world (John 17:21-23). A being church is united around Christ and each other like the triune God has unity in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

"Church, Let's be a Being Church!"