Buzzwords like “social justice,” “missional,” and “shalom” pepper conversations about what the church should be doing for the world today. These conversations take place in the blogosphere, in bible studies, on Facebook and Twitter, in coffee shops and many other places. I’ve witnessed these words be used to sound the call to the church to wake up and do something! As a result, people feel called to do something but what that something is remains a mystery. It might have something to do with environmental stewardship, fair trade coffee, ending slavery, or a wealth of other things that connote these terms.
What Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert do most effectively in their book, What is the Mission of the Church? is answer that “deceptively complex and potentially divisive” question (16) in a tactful and biblically faithful manner. They remind the reader that “[the] story is not about us working with God to make the world right again. It’s about God’s work to make us right so we can live with him again” (89). This simple truth had become obscured in my mind by “should” and “ought” statements that I feel the Enemy has used very effectively to distract me and other believers from our main priority—which is obeying the Great Commission and making disciples (63).
Before I began reading DeYoung and Gilbert’s book, I would have said the church’s mission, God’s mission, and the individual Christian’s mission was without distinction. It’s amazing how critical it is to understand the distinction so that I can be obedient in my task here in this life and help others to be obedient too.