Rogelio Prieto-Duran, one of my colleagues here at Above Bar Church, wrote the following paper. I liked it and would like to share it with you. It’s about Integral Mission and outlines some of breadth and richness of all that we mean when we speak of mission. It concludes with some questions for reflection and a really helpful Bible Study that can be used by individuals or groups…
Starting with creation and rebellion, the Bible is the grand narrative of the Mission of God to bring all things under Christ in a new creation.
In this Mission, the Father sends the Son who sends the church in the power of the Spirit (John 20:19-22). Biblical mission is Missio Dei, the mission of (the triune) God.
“It is God’s design to gather all creation under the Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:10), and to bring humanity and all creation into communion. As a reflection of the communion in the Triune God, the Church is God’s instrument in fulfilling this goal. The Church is called to manifest God’s mercy to humanity, and to bring humanity to its purpose – to praise and glorify God together with all the heavenly hosts. The mission of the Church is to serve the purpose of God as a gift given to the world in order that all may believe (cf. Jn 17:21).”
Mission is not the Church’s idea, we did not invent it. Mission is, and always has been, in the very heart of God. His character and activity reflects this:
- God lovingly creates – he creates and sustains our world, loving all he has made.
- God saves – from the Garden of Eden onwards, the Bible is a record of God working to restore everything and everyone.
- God is present and active in our world – whether we can discern his activity, or not (& sometimes we can’t), God is at work.
- God initiates – time and again, God makes the first move, he reaches out with love to a world in need.
- God reconciles – redemption, peace and justice are at the core of his purposes.
- God sends – just as the Father sent the Son, and together they sent the Holy Spirit, so God has sent the Church to be an instrument for mission in our world.
God’s people are the product of the Missio Dei, the mission of God; we are called to participate with God and be partners in his mission.
God’s missionary purposes are cosmic in scope, concerned with the redemption of fallen humanity, the building of the Church, the establishment of shalom, the coming of the kingdom, the restoration of all things under Christ and the renewal of creation.
This biblical cosmic perspective on mission has come to be known as “Integral Mission”, defined as follows in the Evangelical “Micah Declaration”:
“Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If we ignore the world we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world.” http://www.micahnetwork.org/sites/default/files/doc/library/barriers_to_the_embrace_of_integral_mission.pdf
It has also been summed up as the ‘Five Marks of Mission’ :
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Questions for reflection:
(i) How would you begin to define ‘mission’?
(ii) Most people prefer to emphasise some of the Marks of Mission, more than others – which ones naturally appeal to you? And how can we engage in those which don’t come so naturally to us?
(iii) As we seek to discern what mission means for us, both locally and abroad, how can we ensure that we listen to God and don’t simply adopt an approach which is easy and convenient for ourselves?
Notes for a Bible study:
GOD’S MISSION, CHURCH AND KINGDOM
– Find the Great Commission and The Great Commandment in the gospel of Matthew 28:16-20 / 22:34-40
Which one comes first? Is it still valid? Which of the two is more foundational for mission?
– According to the Gospels,
What did Jesus preach? e.g. Mat 4:17
– In the Great Commission in Matthew,
What is to be proclaimed, according to the text before? What is to be done? What is promised?
– How does Jesus preaching in Matt 4:17 relate to the Great Commission in the same gospel?
– In the Great Commission in Mark 16:14-16 (longer ending)
What is to be proclaimed? What is to be done?
– In the Great Commission in Luke 24:44-49
What is to be proclaimed? What is to be done? What is promised?
– In the Great Commission in John 20:19-22
What is promised/given? Who is sent (MISSIO) by whom? Where does MISSIO start?
– Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, the apostles proclaimed Jesus as the crucified and risen King, e.g. 2 Cor 4:5; look for other related passages,
What are the implications for individuals and for society?