Thursday 11 September 2014

Mission Matters

Kieran Beville deserves thanks for the vigour with which he distinguishes between mission and evangelism. It is all too little understood today. I quote from his new book:
Mission Matters
Some Christians want to define mission as evangelism because this is their limited theological understanding of mission.  Others are in situations that are geared toward evangelism and 'change' is just too much to think about.  Many feel that evangelism will be diluted in a wider mission agenda.  Largely, in the West (though not exclusively so) the evangelical church is oriented toward evangelism, and mission in broader terms is just too daunting to contemplate.  It is difficult to get these kind of churches to consider mission because as far as they are concerned their members already have enough commitments in attending church on Sundays, the mid-week prayer meeting and Bible study, teaching in Sunday school, leading worship, preaching and outreach (usually defined as sharing the message of the gospel and distributing literature that shows the way of salvation). This is essential and vital work and must be continued but it must not be either evangelism or mission rather it must be mission with evangelism at its core ... In a sense it is not only about doing mission but being mission.  Mission is not the raison d'etre of the church.  But the church is a community that bears witness to God's glorious grace made manifest in a new order.  Mission, in this sense, demonstrates what it means in practice to be a people of integrity, peace and hope in a world that is corrupt, distressed and despairing. Part of the church's mission is to bear testimony to the practical reality of God's unmerited grace by being a people who exercise forgiveness and looking out for the needs of others in the family of God by sharing the resources God has given. (pp 150 - 151).
NB. This does not amount to an enthusiastic endorsement of the book as a whole - it is a very mixed bag - but it just landed on my desk today.
'Mission Matters. Essays on the Theory, Practice and Contexts of Mission.' Published by EP Books p/b £10.99.

No comments: