The triune God of love is missional by nature. He would have remained a mystery otherwise. And long before the term mission or missions or missional was used to describe the life of the church its’ first theological usage was to denote the Trinitarian relationships. From the triune community flowed the sovereign-missional act of creation. And the great goal of creation was the revelation of the triune God. We did nothing to initiate this mission. We didn’t even exist.
What difference does this make?
It means that we cannot understand mission apart from God’s mission in the opening pages of the Bible. Mission is rooted in divine initiative and character.
Mission is rooted in divine initiative and character.
In the terribleness of Genesis 3 we learn of our rebellion against God. Sin and death befall humanity and God’s divine revelation and presence becomes a terrifying curse rather than the intended blessing. Nevertheless, we see the divine initiative and God’s intent to continue his mission in Genesis 3:15 by promising to send a seed that would crush Satan, sin, and death. From this point forward the biblical story frames God’s will choose to redeem and restore his fallen creation, replacing the curse with blessing and establishing his kingdom rule on earth as it is in heaven. Fast-forwarding to Revelation 21 and 22, it becomes clear that God will accomplish his mission. There is no question. Our concern then, as the people of God, is not with the “if,” but the “how” when it comes to God’s mission.
We cannot speak of “mission” without speaking of the Trinity.
What this means is that we cannot speak of “mission” without speaking of the Trinity.
As churches develop theology foundational to their cultural engagement they must not forget, “Mission must begin with the identity of the one who loves his own proper life in reconciling the world to himself, and it is in his acting for the redemption of humanity in sending his Son and Spirit that we have to do with his being as God.” The mission of the people of God and all they embarks on in fulfilment of that mission must be rooted in and influenced by the Good God–Father, Son, and Spirit–because the gospel is the story of the God who stoops to save his people.
Mike Reeves is the author of The Good God and keynote speaker of Deep: The Trinitarian Life conference this September. You should take a moment to listen to Mike’s talk, “The Trinity and Mission“.