Length: 266 pp
Author: Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
What Is the Mission of the Church? This is a crucial and timely question; praise God it is now also an excellent book. How would you answer this question? Does the mission of the church include bringing the kingdom, seeking shalom for our communities, working for social justice, doing good deeds or is it simply the proclamation of the gospel? Do you realize that as a Christians you must answer this question? You cannot afford to be fuzzy here. This isn’t a periphery issue; if the church is to be the church this much must be clear, “What is our mission?” This book isn’t just a good treatment of a good topic; it is a needed treatment of a crucial topic. At least for leadership, this book is a must read because the topic is a must know.
[I]t is not wrong to probe the word missional. It’s a big trunk that can smuggle a great deal of unwanted baggage. Being suspicious of every mention of the word is bad, but raising concerns about how the word is sometimes used is simply wise.
With that in mind, we register a few concerns about how missional thinking has sometimes played out in the conversation about the church’s mission:
1. We are concerned that good behaviors are sometimes commended but in the wrong categories. For example, many good deeds are promoted under the term social justice, when we think “loving your neighbor” is often a better category. Or, folks will talk about transforming the world, when we think “faithful presence” is a better way to describe what we are trying to do and actually can do in the world. Or, sometimes well-meaning Christians talk about “building the kingdom” or “building for the kingdom,” when actually the verbs associated with the kingdom are almost always passive (enter, receive, inherit). We’d do better to speak of living as citizens of the kingdom, rather than telling our people that they build the kingdom.
2. We are concerned that in our newfound missional zeal we sometimes put hard “oughts” on Christians where there should be inviting “cans.” You ought to do something about human trafficking. You ought to do something about AIDS. You ought to do something about lack of good public education. When you say “ought,” you imply that if the church does not tackle these problems, we are being disobedient. We think it would be better to invite individual Christians, in keeping with their gifts and calling, to try to solve these problems rather than indicting the church for “not caring.”
If everything in Matthew culminates in the Great Commission, everything in acts flows from it.
The mission Jesus is about to give is based exclusively and entirely on his authority. There can only be a mission imperative because there is first this glorious indicative. God does not send out his church to conquer. He sends us out in the name of the One who has already conquered. We go only because he reigns.
The mission of Jesus is not service broadly conceived, but the proclamation of the gospel through teaching, the corroboration of the gospel through signs and wonders, and the accomplishment of the gospel in death and resurrection.
The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship and obey Jesus Christ now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.