Tag Archives: Theology

We are all Missionaries

What does the title ‘missionary’ make you think of?

William C. Morris (far left) and one of the many schools he founded in Buenos Aires.

William C. Morris (far left), missionary to Argentina, with one of the many schools he founded in Buenos Aires.

Perhaps this photo resonates with the idea of a missionary for you: someone who travelled a long way to set up schools, orphanages, churches, or other social works.

Or perhaps you think of someone with an incredible devotion to God and nearly as impressive a beard, like this man:

Hudson Taylor

Closer to home, it’s likely your church has a missions noticeboard or similar, which shares information about what members of your congregation are doing overseas.

All these are really great, and it’s wonderful to see the sacrifices people are (or have been) willing to make to serve God all over the world and see his kingdom built.  Still, sometimes we can forget how important it is to encourage everyone to do mission everywhere that we are.

Mission doesn’t have to be big or scary, like battling through the jungle, facing malaria, or mediating between warring tribes.  Mission at its simplest is sharing God’s love with others.  David Bosch, the missionary-theologian who wrote the book on mission sums it up like this: “[Mission] is the good news of God’s love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world”.

It’s really important to support our overseas missionaries, as well as those who work in churches in this country, but it’s also important to not forget that mission is something all Christians are called to. The two greatest commandments are to love God, and to love those around you (Matthew 22:36-40), and mission, as Bosch said, is about loving those around us.

  • Mission can be as simple as stopping to chat with someone (friend or not) who needs a listening ear
  • Mission is loving those in our communities (neighbourhoods, churches, workplaces) and sharing each others’ burdens
  • Mission is prayerfully discerning where God is already at work around you, and seeking to join him in building his kingdom

It took me a long time to get over the missionary-hero complex I had from reading about people doing great things for God, past and present.  Even after spending eleven months working for a church overseas I was still reluctant to call myself a missionary!  But the truth is all us followers of Jesus are called to take part in the great commission and be missionaries, by seeking to build God’s kingdom wherever we are.

Where is your mission field?  How can you share the good news of God’s love with some of the people in your life?


What’s the point of theology?

After all, we have the Bible, isn’t that good enough? Why should we care about what people have said about God?

In the 11th century, Anslem of Cantebury famously described theology as “faith seeking understanding”.  Theology is about combining reason and faith, and seeking to understand what significance words written and events occurring millennia ago could have today.

Take the Trinity as an example.  The word ‘Trinity’ never appears in the Bible, nor is there a good explanation of the Trinity anywhere in the New Testament (Philippians 2 is the closest we come), yet Trinitarianism has been a foundational belief of virtually every mainstream Christian denomination in the past 1500 years.  The Trinity is a theology, developed in the first few centuries of the Common Era, as Christians sought to understand the teachings of Jesus and the Bible about the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But theology isn’t just something for the past, nor something left to the academics.  Theology is about asking questions, about our faith, about the Bible, about our church traditions, and about how we act.

Asking “What Would Jesus Do?” and seeking to act faithfully upon it is theology.

Watching The Matrix with friends and discussing free will and salvation in the movie is theology.

Wondering how you can present a Bible story in a different way to help people better interact with the text is theology.

Reflecting on something that has happened to you, and asking what it teaches you about God, your relationship with him, or how you should act differently because of it is theology.

As Christians, our mission is theology; we’re meant to work out our faith in everyday life, continually asking how following Jesus of Nazareth changes the ways we think and act.

To be engaged with the world, our mission must inform our theology; our experiences lead us into asking questions about God, the Bible and the church.

What is something you’ve seen or done recently which taught you about God?

This is the first of two posts looking at the relationship between mission and theology, and the meaning of this site’s name: Mission:Theology”