In an age of deconstruction and rethinking, the Church should not be surprised to find itself confused by words like mission, missions, and missionary. Some struggle to redefine these categories and some seek to reclaim them, while others reject them outright, with or without providing new terms to guide us forward.
But words and their meaning matter; our confusion has a cost. Competing priorities pressure us to stretch our mission definitions as wide as they can go, releasing our people to creatively engage in service of every description. Some churches turn away from traditional mission efforts all together, giving preference to local service and evangelism while outsourcing any cross-cultural effort to those who surely must be more effective than we would be.
As an unfortunate result of these tendencies, many of our churches lack a coherent, compelling sense of what we're all about as we engage with the world. And if we lose our scriptural moorings, how far will our missions efforts drift?
Matthew Ellison and Denny Spitters call us to refocus our gaze on the gospel and the Great Commission. They assert that thinking must come before doing and shape our world mission practices and priorities. When Everything Is Missions is for church and ministry leaders and all who look to clarify their own answers to questions like these: