Mission Theology and Being a Multisite Church in Auburn
I love being part of a local church body that takes the GO in God's word literally, and seriously. Last week I spent as much time as I could studying about mission theology and how it relates to the nature of God for an international missions paper. Even though my study was under the context of international mission, much of the study of mission theology relates to the mission that is being lived out through our local congregation here in Auburn, and local churches all across the country.
Sunday was our very first meeting and worship service for the new multisite location, and it was amazing to see about 150 people there to kick off the new site. With 150 people or more who have committed to making this new site a success it is already bigger than about 80% of the churches in the country. But more importantly, the people here have a huge heart committed to serving people in our area who have never walked into a church before, and that is exactly what scripture talks about through mission theology.
Throughout the Old and New Testament scriptures, God’s mission is deeply related to His own nature. In fact, the two terms are so deeply related to each other that mission can be defined as being part of the “nature of God.” The Latin term missio Dei is often translated as the “sending of God” or the “mission of God” and is derived from the very nature of God himself, “encompassing everything God does in relation to the kingdom and everything the church is sent to do on earth.” When we examine scripture in context we see that “God is the initiator of His mission” sent to redeem his people through Christ, and then through the Church.
While mission is not the only “nature of God”, the nature of God can’t be separated from mission. It is in God’s very nature, and is played out from the calling of Abraham, to the exile and exodus of the Israelites, to the coming the Son of God the Messiah. It can be seen in the setup of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts, and on into our modern day evangelical churches like my own where our leadership long ago decided that this church would not sit idle while "someone else" did the work of mission.
The very mission of God, which is to receive the praise and worship of all nations, is so closely woven together that neither could exist without the other. In modern day cultural terms, mission is not often thought of as a theology, and is rarely related to other aspects of theology. But, when scripture is closely examined, we see God indeed calls all nations to worship him, which then makes it “natural to build a theology of mission at the core of all theological studies.”
All that to say, this is an exciting time here at Cornerstone as we move ahead with being one church in multiple locations. We are one of very few multisite churches in our area, or even the state, who are moving through a plan to reach people in our area through more than one location, and doing so with missio Dei as the focus.