Missional: Who God Calls He Sends

A look at the Moses Paradigm of "Called and Sent"

Walter Brueggemann, in an essay entitled "Evangelism and Discipleship" in the book The Word That Redescribes the World: The Bible and Discipleship explains that the paradigm for a missional community is that God calls and sends. God calls people into relationship with the Godhead, and then sends us on a mission to “go” into a an intentional life that sets aside our purposes and agendas for the sake of God’s.

When Moses is confronted by God, “YHWH issues a series of first-person resolves, all concerning what YHWH intends to do in the face of Pharaonic oppression” (Brueggemann, p. 97).

God says,
I have seen the misery of my people… I am concerned about their suffering… I have come down to rescue them” (Exodus 3:7-9).

But Brueggemann points out that YHWH does not then say, “Therefore, I will go to Pharaoh.” No, instead (and surprisingly) God says, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (verse 10).

God’s modus operandi is to call humans to himself and then to send those humans to do his mission.

Today's called ones (that is, those that I lead in my ministry) have been sent by God into the world as “a community of Shalom.”

Gospel ministry, in this framework, is more holistic than what we’ve seen in North America in the 20th Century. The left side of the Christian church focused mainly on economic justice through social action, while the right side focused mainly on individualistic evangelism and personal ethics. The gospel is not “either-or,” but “both-and” these. When one side of this holistic gospel is emphasized over the other, the gospel is truncated.

As Brueggemann states, “The old quarrel between evangelism and social action is a cheap, uniformed argument. It is precisely the talk of the evangel that matches the walk of action in the world on behalf of the new governance that is proclaimed in the evangel.” (p. 104)

Next: Jesus and His followers

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