Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Missional Identity

Your mission,

should you choose

to accept it...

to be under God's plan,

sent on assignment,

a special agent of Christ Jesus.

Missio Dei - the mission of God.

God's purpose in the world is the kingdom of God. It has to do with God extending his rule of peace, justice, and blessing to all people everywhere.

Paul from the Prodigal Kiwi says:

"at the heart of missio Dei is God's desire for shalom."

shalom - the dynamic action of restoring all things to their original integrity according to the intention of God.

shalom - being concerned for fullness of life, on earth as it is in heaven, over and against all that diminishes, demeans, and destroys life, fullness, and wholeness.

I believe that there are two aspects of shalom - what God does in us, and what God does through us. While there is an ongoing work of restoration to wholeness and fullness in our lives, we are also agents of that restoration to the world around us.

Paul goes on to say:

"Too often though it seems to me that “mission”, our participation in God’s missio Dei, has become ‘code’ for “evangelism,” and thus loses its richer, more holistic focus on shalom." (HT to Len)

Do we understand our assignment?

Is it evangelism, witnessing, and outreach? Or is it community service to the poor, needy, and oppressed? Or is it missionary projects, discipleship classes, and service in our church? Or maybe it's counseling, mentoring, and prayer ministry?

These are all aspects of mission, God's purpose in the world. To limit the mission of the church to only evangelism and personal salvation, limits the scope of all that God would have us do to touch a lost and hurting world with his love and compassion.

So what is our part?

To be a Kingdom agent wherever we are, looking at every day and every opportunity as a Kingdom opportunity and a Kingdom moment. The love and purpose of God is our motivation, His desire for shalom.

I am beginning to understand that it isn't as much about what I do, as it is about who I am. If I truly understand my identity, it impacts how I live and interact with others.

I am an agent of God's grace, His love, the power of His life.

This touches every area of life. Every situation is an opportunity to bring shalom - redemption, healing, and wholeness. When we understand our missional identity, we can be a part of advancing His reign and participating in His kingdom life on this earth.


PJ said...

Interesting thoughts. As I was growing up through the church it was always what are you doing for the kingdom. This was the mantra repeated week in and week out from every pulpit in the church. There was never much stated about looking into who I was other than to make sure I was perfect (never really stated that way, but made you feel like it)I always remember feeling so guilty because I hadn't taken 3 nights a week to go and knock on doors for Jesus. This is something I still struggle with in my thinking. I have got to do, and feeling guilty because I am not. Good point about every situation is about brining shalom. Thanks for the post Grace it's got me thinking and praying

BJ said...

I love your comment, "It's not about what I do, it's about who I am." So true. And yet we're not taught how to be becomers. We're taught to be the right thing, make a good decision, do this, don't do that. Not that I think it's bad to have our actions line up with our faith (the book of James talks all about that). But the point isn't doing. It is being. I'm with you. May we all learn to live the dichotomy of shalom and be the new creations God has made us. Bless you!

Bruce said...

Great thoughts. May we all discover in 2007 what our part in the mission is.

His peace.

Paul Fromont said...

Grace, thanks for enriching my reflection.


grace said...

pj, bj, and bruce,
I'm sorry that I didn't get back to your comments. I was out with a computer virus for awhile.

Thanks for your great thoughts. Mine were just an attempt to understand and apply them to my life.