God has revealed himself to be a triune Being, one God expressed in three Persons in perfect unity. Therefore each Person shares in every aspect of mission, yet each of the three Persons of the Trinity have distinct roles in the mission of God. God the Father offers mankind salvation and reconciliation. It is He who administers his mission, coordinating each aspect providentially to work out his purposes. He has acted graciously by sending his Son to us. The incarnate Son is God, who wholly identifies with man, uses his identity as God as a means of bridging the gap and bringing peace out of estrangement. He is crucified on our behalf but God the Father raises him from the dead, powerfully overcoming death defeating sin both on a personal level and universally. After the ascension of Christ, God the Holy Spirit becomes the powerful force for the fulfillment of God’s redemption. He applies the benefits of redemption procured for us by Christ and directs, counsels, urges, and compels the church to obey and fulfills its global mandate, even in the face of persecution. The Holy Spirit is the facilitator of God’s sovereign plan.
The triune God is the only true source and foundation of missionary endeavor.George Peters asserts that:
“The theocentric emphasis may sound strange to the … ear tuned to pragmatism and to success reports from the mission fields. A rethinking of our missionary premises is therefore imperative. Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the glory of God forms the highest goal of missions because the being and character of God are the deepest ground in missions for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever.”
Oswald Chambers writes: “The aim of the missionary is not to win the heathen, not to be useful, but to do God’s will. He does win the heathen, and he is useful, but that is not his aim; his aim is to do the will of his Lord.” James V. Taylor ties the contemporary loss of nerve in missions to the problem of losing our theocentric focus. He calls for a re-examination of missions in light of God’s Being, nature, and Word. If we will derive our motives from God and rediscover our true foundation, then we can be assured of solid footing and a resurgence of the true spirit of mission. Any other foundation is truly shifting sand.
The Vatican II document “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity” clearly articulates this point when it discusses the origin of mission: “The Church on earth is by its very nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, it has its origin in the Mission of the Son and the Spirit.” According to Hans Küng , “God is oriented to the world.” In his book On Being a Christian, he explains this statement:
“Despite his distinction from man and the world, the God of Israel and Jesus is not remote but close. He appears above all as creative will. He is the powerful and continually effective creator of the world… He is the sovereign Lord of man, expecting obedience from His creature…. He is the wise lord of history, guiding the history of his people and of mankind as a whole from the beginning toward a goal: not arbitrarily, but according to his plan, so that every detail, even suffering and death, acquires its place and meaning in a history of salvation.”
God’s mission is one of compassionate identity. Royce Gordon Gruenler, in his book The Inexhaustible God, states that biblical revelation does not picture God as “frozen in his absoluteness.” God is “ultimate sociality” and the “archetypal family” comprised of three Persons. There is interaction in the Family; there is dialogue and communion between the three Persons. God is a God of motion, a personable God who relates, who moves, who comes and goes, who walks and talks with humanity. He is God on a mission.