Mission Anabaino (MA) is mission “I am ascending” (the meaning of the Greek word “anabaino” which is used in John 20:17). It seeks to fullfill the “greater things” in relation to Christ’s great expectations regarding his ascension ministry today (John 14:12). In practical terms, it is to participate in the real and personal advent of Christ through church planting and the ecumenically oriented rediscovery of missional ecclesiology. More than a philosophy of ministry, Mission Anabaino is a theological vision rooted in the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ and his continued salvific presence today applied to mission!
Our Theological Vision
Our vision is to plant what we call Total Christ churches.
Fifth century pastor-theologian St. Augustine originated the term “Total Christ” when describing the relationship of Christ’s incarnational ministry (past) to his ongoing ascension ministry (present) as “the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us; to that flesh is joined the church, and there is made total Christ, both head and body” (John 1:14 and Ephesian s1:21-23, 2:19ff). Employing the Chalcedonian formula of “distinct but never separate” of christology to ecclesiology, Augustine further explained:
"Then let us rejoice and give thanks that we are made not only Christians, but Christ. Do you understand, brothers, and apprehend the grace of God upon us? Marvel, be glad, we are made Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members: the whole man is he and we . . . The fullness of Christ, then, is head and members. Head and members, what is that? Christ and the Church!" (St. Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John)
Acknowledging and even celebrating the mystery in all of this, it is our intention to reunite these spiritualities that in modern history tend to be separated — what could be described as a “covenant” theology ( gospel centered) and a “temple” theology (church centered) of salvation and the gospel. If one stresses the regulative and declarative nature of mission, the other stresses the participational and presence nature of mission – both informed by grace and both at the same time!
A Total Christ vision believes that a church cannot separate being gospel-centered from being missional any more than Christ’s head (Word) can be separated from Christ’s body (temple)! Such churches seek to mediate Christ’s vivifying presence as our Prophet (through confessional teaching), Priest (through sacramental worship), and King (through communal formation). In so doing, a Total Christ vision will want to reunite what has too often been presented as an “either-or” (dichotomized) vision for ministry and mission in recent church history.
Our strategy simply stated is 10-10-10, that is to plant:
Ten Congregations Locally
Ten Church Planting Movements Globally
In Ten Years
Locally, we have begun planting congregations in the greater New Haven area that reflect the different voices and locations of our diverse city. Until a Total Christ vision of the gospel is made geographically and/or culturally accessible to each citizen, we will not be finished planting. Globally, in conjunction with our growing MA community and affiliate network we have begun church planting movements around the world that can themselves continue church planting. Currently, our multiple congregations are already a reflection of one church organically united in beliefs, mission, and a cooperative strategy expressed in a kind of symphonic multiplicity of cultural voices and instruments. We are presently considering many additional opportunities such as in global center cities, college towns and other major world contexts around the globe.
For more information on our strategy, read "Why Church Plant?" on the Mission Anabaino website.