Missional: Sent to "Where?"

We are not sent to a "place" but to be the "alternative" in the place we are

In his essay "Evangelism and Discipleship," found in the book The Word That Redescribes the World: The Bible and Discipleship, Walter Brueggemann does an excellent job of giving the biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical realities of how God calls and sends his people. Evangelism and mission as going hand-in-hand: when God calls, he sends.

But to where is God sending us?

Brueggemann wisely points out, “it is clear that the sending is not to another place on the assumption that some places have already been ‘won over’ and other places remain to be ‘taken.’ That, of course, was the old assumption of mission that was characteristically ‘foreign’ mission, as it was uncritically assumed that the home base was ‘secure’ for the Gospel” (p. 103).

This is an important paradigm shift going on in American Christianity. Many of us are seeing our ministry goal as helping each person in our ministries discover their particular giftings, talents, and vocational callings so that they can (as Brueggemann says) “be dispatched as alternative in every place where anti-creation powers rule, dispatched there to talk the talk and walk the walk” (p. 103).

We are to be culture-shapers in this place. We are to bring God's blessing to this place. We are to seek universal flourishing for everyone (Shalom) in this place. We are to overcome injustice wherever we see it, including right here in our place. We are to live as an alternative community, displaying to the world what it looks like when God's way rules, not lording over people but living as Jesus did - through service and sacrifice.

That is the "walk." And when people ask us for the story of why we live in such hope, we should be ready to answer them, telling them that God's Kingdom has come near them.

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