Mission Precedes Ecclesiology

To be authentic, mission must be thoroughly theocentric. It begins in God’s redemptive purpose and will be completed when that purpose is fulfilled.  The God-given identity of the church thus arises from its mission. This order of priority is foundational. Yet for some sixteen centuries Christians have been taught to think of church as the prior category and mission as one among several functions of the church.

Wilbert Shenk, Changing Frontiers of Mission, 7