missional vocation

More Questions than Answers

Have you ever thought about the church having a vocation? Here’s your invitation to begin. Vocation is all about calling. So, what is the church’s calling? The church’s calling begins with understanding the nature of the church.

What is the church?

(I told you, there were more questions than answers.)

You might answer, the body of Christ, or a community of believers.  But, what is the church to you?

David Bosch¹ reminds us the local church is “a community, a gathered people, brought together by a common calling and vocation to be a sent people.”²

That’s probably not a definition you’ve used before!

Here’s my short-hand, with apologies to David Bosch: The church is a community with a common calling to be a sent people. Vocation is all about calling and mission is all about begin sent. The missional vocation of the church is about sending people to fulfill a common calling.

So, then, the church is “called and sent to re-present the reign of God.”³ What calling could be higher than that? We believe the kingdom of God is both present and not yet. That means have an opportunity to help others see where God’s reign is present in our lives. Our common calling must involve joining in what God is doing in our midst.

And that will involve paying attention to the movement of God. That is not an idle act. Paying attention to the movement of God involves intentionality.

So let me ask another question…

Where have you witnessed the movement of God today?

It’s a windy day in Nashville. The sun is shining and it’s in the upper 60’s. As I went to the store, I couldn’t help but notice the wind blowing things (and people) with an invisible force. A young man riding his bicycle seemed to be moving without much effort. It reminds me of the way we are moved to new places when we join in what God is already doing. A young man, on a bicycle, on a windy day, in late February, reminds me our God reigns.

The church is to be the community that lives under the reign of God.

When the church is paying attention to the movement of God there is clarity. The focus of the church’s missional vocation begins with Jesus and ends with the kingdom of God. In the end, the church’s missional vocation is to be the “sign and foretaste” of the reign of God.4

We have an opportunity to pay attention to God’s movement in our every day, ordinary lives. Perhaps the greatest vocational opportunity we have is simply to pay attention.

Notes

1. David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (New York: Orbis Books), 2011.

2. Darrel L. Guder, ed., Missional Church: A Vision for Sending of the Church in North America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 81.

3. Ibid., 77.

4. Ibid., 101.

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