Bishop Michael Nazir Ali asserts that churches are called to engage in mission from everywhere to everywhere. By that I take him to mean that mission is to be at the heart of church life, that all Christians are called to be witnesses to Jesus in the words we speak and the lives we live wherever we live. But more than that, churches are called to have an involvement in both local mission and global mission.
In my experience if churches engage in mission at all they are locally focused and tend to leave the global to the enthusiastic few. However, as congregations recognise the primacy of their global nature and calling they will be far more effective in their local mission and outreach. As Bishop Lesslie Newbigin wrote in his 1994 book The Open Secret, “Mission is the proclaiming of God's kingship over all human history and over the whole cosmos. Mission is concerned with nothing less than all that God has begun to do in the creation of the world and of humankind. Its concern is not sectional but total and universal.'
George Lings argues that church must be rooted in who God is. He believes that the Trinity is community in mission. This means that when a local church does not engage in both local and global mission in the way Jesus did it is failing to be all that God wants it to be. It has been said that it is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world but that the God of mission has a Church in the world. If God as Father, Son and Spirit is community in mission then we as church are to community-in-mission.
Lings says that in the same way that mission shaped the divine missioner, Jesus, mission is to shape and direct our lives. What would you church look like if it was community in mission? In what ways would our church be raising up its members to engage in mission both locally and globally? How would your church change the community and the world around it if its central proclamation was God's kingship over the whole of human history and the world we live in?