Takeaway: The church, God’s people, are on mission, or should be.
I picked up this book on a whim. I did not know anything about the book or author. I have been reading books on the bible and theology. I was out of audiobooks and liked the idea of a series on Biblical Theology. I was very surprised how good this was. Christopher Wright is a former seminary professor in India and for the last 10 years has headed the foundation that was started by John Stott to facilitate training of international Christian leaders.
After some research I found out that Christopher Wright is best known for his monumental book Mission of God. Mission of God was the 2007 Christianity Today Missions Book of the Year. It tracks how the mission of God is developed throughout the bible. Wright makes significant contrabutions on how the mission of God is developed in the Old Testament.
The Mission of God’s People builds on his earlier book by asking the next question, What is the mission of the church? Or how does God use his people for his mission? This is a very biblically focused book that seems to build on the earlier book, but is focused on how the people of God are being used by God for his mission. Again, Wright spends a good amount of time on the Old Testament.
I listened to this book on audio, and 24 hours after I finished it, I am already ready to re-read it in print. I would recommend this in print. He quotes extensively from scripture and frequently asks the reader to turn to your own bible and read and think about how he is using the passages.
I am very convicted that the church really is doing a small part of the what the role of the church is all about. This is not simply about integrating social ministries into evangelism. It is a much deeper integration than that. Toward the end of the book Wright suggests that we would never make a split between prayer and bible reading, asking people if whether they thought that prayer or bible reading was most biblical or important in the Christian life. In a similar way, Evangelism and ministry are two parts of a whole. In some ways, the overwhelming evidence that Wright presents about this almost makes me react against it. But that is part of the reason I want to go back and re-read it.
The other focus of the book is expanding the idea of what it means to work for God. A very broad understanding of vocation, which I very much agree with, still has the problem for me. If everything is part of our work for God, then can anything we do, not be for God? It makes it difficult for me to help make priorities. But priorities are about the individual and local church expression. God, through the Holy Spirit is about guiding us, not about giving us universal guidelines.
I want to label this as a missional book. But it is intended to be more than a book for the sub-group of Christians that identify with that term. There is very few aspect of the church that are not discussed in this book. My only question is whether to read this book again, or go back and read Mission of God first.