One of the challenges of being an author is that you get asked to help a lot of students. I always try to help my students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Southeastern Seminary, but I also try to help other students as I can (since I remember being on the other side, doing research for my D.Min. and then my Ph.D.). So, to do that, I try to respond to one interview request each month.
Recently, a doctoral student sent me some questions. Here are a few of the answers I gave.
On the mission of Christ in the world:
Christ’s mission is to glorify God by establishing the kingdom of God on the earth through His life, death, and resurrection and through the sending of the spirit-empowered Church. He accomplishes this mission primarily by redeeming people from their sins and equipping them to live a life of love for the advancement of the kingdom.
On the missional objective(s) of the church:
The missional objective(s) of the church are (in Lesslie Newbigin’s words) to be a sign and instrument of the kingdom of God. The believers/church do this by showing the redemptive power of God through transformed lives that are lived in the community of faith for the good of their world. They also do this by sharing the redemptive message of the gospel which is necessary for the eternal salvation of people.
On the importance of the missional “movement”:
God-honoring Christian movements occur because God in his kindness and wisdom chooses to bless a leader or leaders to mobilize people and churches. The church needs clear and courageous godly examples to point us to what God wants to do and is doing in our world. When God raises us such examples, the church should pay attention.
I believe God is doing this now in our generation with a number of different leaders and movements. The dangerous is always to see the movement as a end in itself rather than a mobilizing force for the cause of the kingdom for God’s glory (which is the ultimate end).
Movements, networks, and denominations are tools that God uses to encourage the church in its mission and to strength churches to accomplish more for the kingdom than they are able to alone.
I think we can plan and strategically work towards movements through networks and denominations, but we should remain rightly aware that true spiritual movements are not planned and organized by us. There are a gracious work of God for the building of his church.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.