Another George Fox question from Vaughn: "In Chapter 8, you repeatedly mention the vocation/calling of suburban churches. Could you say more about how you believe local churches go about determining their calling, and is there anything specific that suburban churches should keep in mind when seeking their calling?"
One way that churches can determine their uniqueness and sense of calling is to explore their own history, identity, context, experience, and gift mix of current members. Every church has a particular story and a distinct way of being and doing church that is different from other churches in the area. One diagnostic that always gets a lot of good discussion is for church leaders and members to ask each other, "Why did you come to this church? Out of all the other churches in the area, why did you visit this one? Why did you stay? What did you find compelling about this particular church?" (I blogged earlier about some other questions that churches can ask themselves.)
How a church discerns its sense of call and vocation is a mysterious process much like it is for us as individuals. Over the years, we as individuals get a sense that God has created us in certain ways, with particular gifts and interests and aptitudes for certain kinds of work or ministry, and we prayerfully ask for God's guidance as he leads us into things that seem to be what he has called us to do. When we find those things, it's like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire - "God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure." Likewise, God made our churches in particular ways, and each church is uniquely positioned to do some things well, and when we do those things, we feel God's pleasure.
Books like David Benner's The Gift of Being Yourself can be read and discussed congregationally and applied to a church context. Also, resources like Good to Great (and the companion Good to Great and the Social Sectors) are helpful in determining what it is that your church can be best at.
As far what suburban churches in particular should keep in mind, let me tag back to the previous post and say that suburban churches should understand their calling in relation to their particular suburban context. Your church exists for such a time and place as this. What is it about your particular church that is called to minister to this particular suburban context? Know thyself, and know thy context, and somewhere in the intersection of the two may be clues to your church's missional calling.