Two vital questions that missional pastors obsess about

Pastors who lead their churches into the mission of Christ don’t do so by accident, it seems to me. These pastors are obsessed—obsessed by two questions. Two vital questions dominate the life, study and ministry of missional pastors:dsc_0154

  1. What is the shape of the mission of the church (biblical and contextual)?
  2. How do I mobilize my church into the mission of Christ?

The first question reflects a pastor’s concern for a deep understanding of mission. How are we to understand the shape of mission biblically? For example is mission just another thing the church does, or is it fundamental to the identity of the church—as a sent people (John 20:21)? And is mission central to the biblical story? And is it central to ecclesiology? And what can Leslie Newbigin teach us about a Trinitarian missiology? And what does it mean, as Guder writes, to, ‘be the witness, do the witness and say the witness’, etc…

And how are we to understand the shape of mission of Christ contextually? What does it mean, for example, to live as a signs to the Lordship of Christ in the west in 2013? How do we live gratefully in a culture of consumerism? And how do we live communally in a culture of individualism, etc… For those interested, Newbigin’s, ‘The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society’ provides a great starting place for our journey into these questions.

The second question is: how do I mobilize my church into the mission of Christ? I will leave this question to another blog, though do please feel free to contribute your answer! I finish be repeating these two questions for you to obsess about:

  1. What is the shape of the mission of the church (biblical and contextual)?
  2. How do I mobilize my church into the mission of Christ?

About Mark Glanville

Mark Glanville is a pastor-scholar who ministers in a missional urban community, Grandview Church, Vancouver. Mark is Professor of Old Testament and congregational studies at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix (, and he teaches at Regent College, Vancouver. Mark's research focusses upon the Pentateuch, biblical ethics, and mission. Mark has authored "Adopting the Stranger as Kindred" (SBL, 2018), "Reading Exodus: Society Reshaped by Kinship" (Lexham, forthcoming), numerous refereed articles (including in the Journal of Biblical Literature (2018), Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (2019), and Refuge Journal (2013)) and chapters on the Pentateuch, mission, and refugee related issues, as well as numerous popular articles. Mark is presently co-authoring a book, "Providing Refuge: A Missional and Political Theology." Mark is called upon to speak on in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. His previous career was as a jazz pianist in Sydney, Australia (Chick Corea and Wynton Kelly are his musical heroes).
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6 Responses to Two vital questions that missional pastors obsess about

  1. Geoff says:

    My first sermon as a Minister was on identity and mission in John.

    Kostenberger’s chapter on John in ‘Salvation to the Ends of the Earth’ is brilliant. Jesus’ identity is as one who is sent, and is both the model and the grounds for his sending of the disciples. The church is invited into the godhead, and as the Father is present in the son’s mission (a clear aspect of his identity in John), so the Son is present in our mission.

    A Church without mission is like a panadol without pain relief – it’s not even what it is meant to be.

    Thanks for the post, and hope you are well


  2. davidgroenenboom says:

    Great post!

    I think the greatest challenge for the church is to rise into the calling the Lord lays before us: to be a people who bring God’s true life and his better way into their world. To enrich our communities with grace, beauty, compassion/justice, and the display of what it means to live in relationship with our glorious Lord.

    Keen for the next post…

  3. Pingback: Four strategies for leading a church into mission | …for he has made you beautiful

  4. Hyun Kim says:

    Mark, my comment is disappeafed! I asked you to permit my translation of this posting into Korean and post at my Korean blog.

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