The church in the world and for the world

posted in: The Church on Mission

“When it comes to mission, we are obsessed with strategy. That is the wrong approach. There we miss the whole point of God’s Mission.”

Arthur Dück from Curitiba, Brazil gave the Wednesday morning plenary address, “The Mission of the Church: Clarifying the Missio Dei,” at the ICOMB mission consultation in Thailand.

Mission is God’s mission. We are invited to participate in God’s work of bringing everything again under the lordship of Christ. The mission of the church is to be the church, the body of Christ in the world and for the world.

Too often our church-body is all mouth or all head – no hands, no feet, no ears. But our call is to be the embodiment of God’s heart and God’s mind.

Mission is about repairing everything sin has destroyed in God’s good creation. It is far more than just resolving a legal problem we humans have with God’s justice. It is about the healing of broken relationships with each other, with ourselves, with God and with creation.

Power and hierarchy have often distorted aspects of church life and missions. The way of Christ is to step down and identify with the lowly.

The “New Apostolic Reformation Movement” associated with C. Peter Wagner has caused harm: it exalts power and hierarchy and operates on the idea that God reveals new dimensions that have not yet been revealed in Christ and the New Testament. It is plagued with animistic ideas not compatible with the basic Christian beliefs.

To be an apostolic church means to understand the sending of the church into the world as the body of Christ and expression of the Kingdom of God!

But to participate in God’s mission by being the church in the world and for the world – that is the call to all of us!

—Alfred Neufeld is rector of Universidad Evangelica del Paraguay and chair of Mennonite World Conference’s Faith and Life Commission