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Definition

The mission of the church is the task given by God for the people of God to accomplish in the world.

Summary

After defining the terminology this essay will explore the nature of the church’s mission in light of the missio Dei and the apostolic pattern in the New Testament and the book of Acts in particular. It will evaluate contemporary broader ideas of mission and conclude with a re-emphasis on the gospel-centered focus of the New Testament pattern.

More from Kevin DeYoung

The Mission of the Church in Living Color

Greg and I have been trying to engage some of the conversation about our book. Believe it or not, we also do many other things besides blog and read blogs. So unfortunately we will not be able to respond to everything everyone wants us to respond to. I don’t have any missions-related posts planned after this one. But perhaps it would be helpful to think practically about how these things play out on the ground level. I’ll start by giving some examples from my church. At the end I also want to raise some questions for those who want a...

What is the Mission of the Church?

Donald McGavran (1897-1990) began his career as missionary to India, but is best known as the director of the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary. As “the father of the church growth movement,” McGavran’s principles and methodology were not uniformly helpful. But he was the foremost missiologist of his time, a mentor to hundreds of scholars and practitioners, and a man clearly devoted to world evangelization. Toward the end of his life he wrote a letter to David Hesselgrave, co-founder of the Evangelical Missiological Society and director of missions at TEDS, explaining his concern with the ever broadening...

Lloyd-Jones on the Mission of the Church

Here is Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the great Welsh preacher and longtime pastor at Westminster Chapel in London, explaining what Acts 6 can teach us about the mission of the church and the pastor: But, and in many ways the most interesting statement of all, I sometimes think in this connection, is one that is found in the sixth chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles where we are told that a great crisis arose in the life of the early Church. I know of nothing that speaks more directly upon the present state and condition of the Church,...

A Response to Ed Stetzer’s Review of “What Is the Mission of the Church?”

Greg and I would like to respond to Ed Stetzer’s thoughtful review of our book. It will be helpful to read his review along with our response. More importantly, we encourage you to read the book for yourself and not assume you have the book pegged apart from reading it. ******* When we first began to write What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (WTS), we figured it would kick up some dust.  This question of what the church is sent into the world to accomplish is not only enormously...

One More Time on Good Works and the Mission of the Church

The final point in yesterday’s blog is hugely important. Greg and I thought it was worth elaborating on. So we wrote the following: ****** Maybe it will head off a bit of confusion if we bang the drum a bit more on this crucial issue of good works and their relationship to the mission of the church. The question we are asking in WITMOTC is not whether good works—of whatever kind—flow from, grow from, and then confirm and affirm and adorn the gospel message. Clearly they do. The Bible says so over and over (as does our book we believe)....

The Mission of the Church

In the past week I’ve started reading The Church of Christ by James Bannerman (1807-68). If you aren’t familiar with the work, you should be. It is a classic treatment of Reformed ecclessiology. With almost a thousand pages in two volumes, there isn’t much Bannerman doesn’t cover. Chapter 7 deals with “the church in its relation to the world.” The chapter sounds remarkably contemporary. I’ll probably say more about the book and this chapter later, but it’s worth highlighting the main points here. It is deeply interesting, then, to inquire into the place and office assigned to the Church of...

What Is the Mission of the Church?

The question is more controversial than you might think. Any number of responses can sound about right until you really dig in and see that they aren’t all saying the same thing. Phil Ryken says, “One of the last gifts Jesus gave to the church was a clear, unambiguous statement of its mission to the world. Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth….’ That Great Commission is still in effect. Although it was first given to the apostles, it is a mission statement for all Christians at all times and in all place” (City on a Hill, 129)....

Blogs

Defining the “Mission of the Church”

This month’s issue of Credo magazine is about missions and the church. I was asked to contribute a definition of “the mission of the church” for inclusion in the magazine. It took me a while to think about how to form a definition that showed the relationship between the church’s identity and mission. In the end, this is the definition I offered: The church is a sign and instrument of the kingdom of God, a people united by faith in the gospel announcement of the crucified and risen King Jesus. The mission of the church is to go into the world in the power...

More Questions (But Less Nagging!) on the Mission of the Church

The mission of the church is a hot topic these days, and I am glad to see that pastors and church leaders are sharpening each other’s understanding of how to address this topic biblically and how to lead our churches to respond faithfully. Last week, I posted five nagging questions I had after reading Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert’s book on the mission of the church. Within a few hours I had an inbox full of messages from people saying that they had read the book and had some of the same questions. By the end of the week, Kevin...

Responding to Stetzer and Critics on the Mission of the Church

Ed Stetzer’s critical review of the book What Is the Mission of the Church? has now been published by Themelios. In addition to this review, Ed took the unusual step yesterday of compiling and quoting critical quotations from all the online reviews of the book. Kevin and Greg have now posted a response to Ed’s review. If you want the “upshot” of their rejoinder, here it is: “We actually agree with many of [Ed’s] critiques, because we think they do not fully describe our concerns or positions. Where we disagree on exegetical conclusions or theological distinctions we look forward to...

Missions and Justice

I commonly hear Christians and non-Christians object to missions on the grounds that missionaries have sometimes been the tip of the spear for oppression and cultural subjugation. People cite the way Christian missions rode the wave of colonial domination in Africa and India, for example. The remedy, according to some, is that Christian missions be halted altogether or at least seriously re-examined. To be sure, there’s a place for re-examining mission practice. We need to learn from the history of cross-cultural gospel ministry, especially those painful and shameful aspects we do not wish to repeat. But it’s also important to...

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