Missionality (or sent-ness) is the expression of discipleship, ministry, communion, and eschatology centered on the biblical revelation of God's mission in the world. It is the individual and communal life-rhythm of those who have listened and obeyed the Master's words, "Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you." (John 20:21)
The Missio Dei or Mission of God is described by missiologist David Bosch as the "alerting of all people to the rule and reign of God". This rule and reign is the transcendent reality of what Jesus introduces as the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven). It was Jesus, the Sent-One of God who came to announce this Kingdom, proclaiming the good news that it is here, it is now, in our very midst!
The incarnation of God taking on flesh - becoming one of us - marks the clearest announcement of this universal reign. Tim Keller writes that, “the Gospel is the good news that God himself has come to rescue and renew all of creation, through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.” So when Jesus commissions us to go and proclaim this good news, he is sending us out into the world to participate with God in the awakening of the lost, disoriented, hurting, and oppressed people around us, to the reality that hope, healing, and new life is here!
Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, give sight to the blind, and set the oppressed free! (Luke 4:18). In his response to John the Baptist, when asking if he was the true Messiah, Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor." (Luke 7:22)
When Jesus sends his disciples out, this is the mission he gives them - “Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously." (Matthew 10:5-8)
This is the Mission of God, the Missio Dei.
This is missionality.
And it informs everything about our life as a disciple of Jesus.
By Clarke T. Cayton, Co-Director of Forge Joplin