Through these national gatherings, the Spirit of the Lord is bringing to the churches understanding the concept of Missio Dei. Missio Dei is a Latin term that literally means “Mission of God.” Beyond its literal meaning, however, it is a theological cornerstone in the foundation of Christianity with vast implications for global missions and the role of the church in God’s plan of redemption.
Missio Dei is the overarching biblical story that clearly reveals our Heavenly Father’s embrace, affirmation and high regard for diversity – the remarkable diversity of ALL human and non-human creation. Within the mystery of God’s Threeness is His Oneness – the diverse interrelated community between God-the-Father, God-the-Son and God-the-Holy-Spirit.
Missio Dei, as a trinitarian theology of mission, serves the Body of Christ as a mutuality model; here the amazing diversity of people is seen as a primary expression of God’s triune existence. In other words, Missio Dei provides us with a theology of world missions that provides a place of belonging, equality and value for all people as divine expressions of the community of God. This has many implications for us, among them;
- Missions is not the responsibility of the wealthy, privileged, educated, Westerner or “White man,” but is given by God to all His people to reach the whole world.
- God graciously invites all His people worldwide to join Him within the midst of their remarkable cultural diversity – all languages, music, dance, ceremony, ritual, art, and social patterns (when not in contradiction to scripture) have an important place in advancing the Kingdom.
- It calls for missions to emerge from the margins of traditional Christianity – today the majority of missionaries now come from south of the equator and non-western nations, which is becoming the norm for global missions.
It embraces and calls for a strong sense of social justice, emerging from the co-equality, mutuality and Shalom of God’s trinitarian existence.
- It rescues mission from the church and puts it back into the hands of God, repositioning the Church as an invited participant with God in His plans and activities for redeeming creation back into right relationship with Himself.
- The role of women is reexamined in scripture in light of non-western worldview perspectives that provide a biblical critique of the Anglo male dominated world of theology and mission, seeing them as co-equals in fulfilling the Father’s heart for redemption.
- The place of narrative theology or “story” finds equal footing with the western notion of systematic theology as “the correct” way of viewing scripture.
When we read Revelation 7:9, we see a heavenly picture of remarkable diversity; every tribe, tongue and ethnic group caught up in the glory of God worshipping, which is, radical community! The radical community of God expressed in diversity begins in and ends the story of creation from Genesis to Revelation; this is Gods divine pattern proclaimed by the Father, empowered by the Spirit and confirmed in Christ, “the same yesterday, today and forever.”
I am absolutely committed to see this biblical concept - Missio Dei – become part of the everyday vocabulary and understanding of believers everywhere. This conference is the first in a series of national gatherings; pastoral and leadership seminars, symposiums and conferences over the next three years.
It is my hope that you will prayerfully make the sacrifice to join us for these historic gatherings, beginning this November in Franklin. Become part of this emerging “Missio Dei Initiative” to bring the Shalom of God back into the forefront of the church. Let’s begin to envision – to look out into our increasingly radically diverse, multiethnic and religiously pluralistic world with new eyes of faith to recognize the Spirit of God at work in lives of people around the world.
Convener of the Missio Dei Initiative