Are we first and foremost called to mission or, rather, to create community out of which mission comes? Most would agree that it is not either/or. But I have seen (and written) much about the primacy of one verses the other.
For example, I have written about the nature of the church as ‘going.’ And many agree that the church is missional by nature just as God Himself is missional to the core.
On the other hand, church is always a community of believers and relationship is at the core of God’s dynamic personality.
Recently I was struck by this quote from JR Woodward: “When we live authentic and vulnerable lives, we cultivate communities that have a good theology of failure, people willing to take risks.”
This helped me to tie mission and community together in a fresh way. Mission and ‘going’ always involves the element of risk-taking as we step out of comfort zones and into the world, culture, and lives of others. So where do we develop the faith and find the support for doing this? Woodward argues that authentic community is part of this provision!
So, we see mission and community married together—communities on mission—with the reminder that we need each other in order to live the kind of adventurous, faith-exhibiting life of a mission-centered Jesus follower!
On a personal note, I do want to acknowledge so many of you who are part of my personal and virtual community. You do give me strength to take FAR more risks in mission and life than I would without you! Thank you!