I just want to take a couple of days to pull out some quotes from an article on Lesslie Newbigin by Tim Suttle. Newbigin comes up a lot here because, well, the whole missional theology movement owes a lot to his application of mission to the life of the church and his understanding of mission as being at the very heart of God. The article is a good read. I learned quite a bit. But let me pull out a couple of quotes and encourage you to go read what Tim Suttle says:
The mission field is everywhere in the world we find a church. The people of God are always on mission, and it’s not to a personal gospel of private faith. It’s a public gospel of the redemption of all things.
And the reason, he said, that the people of God are always involved in mission is that Mission is the very nature of God. God is a Missional God… he said: The overarching story of God is that God wants to be known. God is constantly doing self-revelation, helping us find meaning. God is constantly moving toward us in Mission. God is a sending God: The Father sends the Son. The Son sends the Holy Spirit. The Father & Son send the church in the power of the Spirit.
Mission isn’t something we do as a church. Mission is who we are. The church is a Missional church because God is a Missional God. So he began to say that the church doesn’t have a mission. God has a mission & he calls the church into being so it can serve the mission of God. Not just a mission of personal conversion, but of the redemption of all things.
This is sometimes called Newbigin’s Missional Ecclesiology. This simply means that Newbigin helped return church to its missionary character. This changed the way church is done throughout the world.