Friday, October 20, 2006

Ben Myers on Mission

Ben Myers' series on Theology for Beginners is now on the topic about the mission of the church and it is definitely a worthwhile reading. Check it out for your self. He is able to present concepts in a very creative way. Because of my interest in missions and theology, I find this post sets forth what missionaries should learn and unlearn. I highlight here what for me are important points and I include some quotes. I have no comments and I have nothing to add.

1. Mission is a community endeavor. It can never be a work of an individual. Mission belongs to the very essence of Christian Community.

2. Mission is a work of the triune God.
...the Father sends the Son into our history; the Son accepts his mission from the Father and follows the path of that mission even to the point of death; and proceeding from the Father through the Son, the Spirit raises the dead Jesus into new life and empowers the Christian community to gather around the risen Jesus in freedom and thanksgiving. God’s own triunity, then, takes place as an unceasing movement of sending-and-being-sent, a movement of mission that breaks into history from the future in order to draw all history forwards into the life of God’s coming kingdom.
3. Mission is neither establishing nor advancing of the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of God has already been established and advanced by God himself.
But precisely here, our own task becomes clear: not to establish God’s kingdom, but to announce it; not to bring the kingdom near, but to enact its nearness; not to advance the kingdom by expanding the institutions of Christendom, but to use these institutions to witness to the kingdom; not, then, to identify our own work with the kingdom, but simply to stand before the reality of God’s future and to summon all creation towards that reality.
4.The task of mission is to announce its message: that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, in other words to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord!”

Jesus is Lord – he is the Lord in whom God has acted, and he is the Lord in whom God is coming!” As well as announcing this message, the community must enact the message in visible and suggestive signs and parables. The Lordship of Jesus is enacted in social and political acts of justice and peace, in artistic works of beauty and meaning, in personal acts of grace and forgiveness. As the community enacts the Lordship of Jesus in such ways, the world here and now catches an anticipatory glimpse of God’s coming kingdom. The world here and now glimpses the context of meaning from which everything else – all history, all creation, every human story – receives its meaning.
5. Mission is not identical with evangelization although it is definitely part of it. Here Ben enumerates some activities that we mistakenly thought are the thrusts of mission.

There are no simple rules that can prescribe the way the community must carry out this mission. At times, the mission will involve evangelism – but the mission of the community (that is, the mission of God) is by no means identical with evangelisation. At times, it will involve expanding Christendom in its institutional forms – but the mission itself is never identical with or dependent on such expansion. At times, it will involve establishing new ecclesial forms and structures – but the mission itself is never identical with such strategies. At times, it will involve social and political action in the cause of justice and peace – but the mission itself can never be identified with such action.
6. The role of Christians is to participate in the unceasing event of God’s own mission.
This means that our lives and our Christian institutions must be empowered by the Spirit and directed towards the future of the risen Jesus. It means that in all we do, we hasten towards the destiny of creation – but in this hastening, we also wait. We wait for the power of the Spirit. We wait for the missional movement of God’s own life...We announce and enact the Lordship of Jesus.


Ben Myers said...

Thanks for your kind words, Joey -- I'm glad you liked the post!

Joey said...

You are very much welcome. Just like the others i read your blog regulary and I have learn a lot from your posts. I actually recommend you blog to my friends in the Philippines.