In part 3, I shared a FAQ list regarding mid-size communities (MSCs). You can get a good feeling as to what an MSC is by reading through the FAQs, or by looking at this infographic, but what’s the theological rationale for them anyway? Are MSCs just a repackaged version of Adult Bible Fellowship? Are they just the new hot thing? Or are they merely a different version of missional communities?
Well, let’s dig in. In order to look at the theological rationale for MSCs, we first need to ask more of a fundamental question: What is the church and what is her mission?
Is the Church, as Hans Kung suggests, the visible church building that people can belong to, as well as the invisible global Church composed of all true believers? Or is the Church better described, in a biblical way, as “God’s household” (Eph 2:19), “the body of Christ” (1 Cor 12:27), and a place where all of the biblical “one another’s” are lived out?
There is nothing wrong with describing the Church in those ways, but perhaps a better way to understand the Church is to begin with the end in mind? What if the Church was defined and understood through the lens of its mission? If it were, then the Church would not fall into the trap of being a loving community for its own sake or be mistaken as a rotary club. Although William Rush states that “the more the Church understands its own nature, the more it gets hold of its own vocation,” I actually believe the opposite is just as true. The more the Church understands its own mission or vocation, the more it will grab hold of its own nature.
So what is the mission that God has given the Church?