The Church in Mission and in the World
The church, whether we think of it in its local or universal sense, is the gathered people of God. We are, in New Testament terms, the ekklēsia, the people who are “called out” of the world by God and for God. We are, in Old Testament terms, the qahal, the “assembly” who unite under God’s covenant in worship and service. We are, in missiological terms, the people God sends into the world to bear witness of what he has done and to call others into relationship with him. A people called out of the world to serve the world—this is what John Stott called the church’s “double identity.” This identity is so important in God’s eternal plan that we would all benefit from studying it more deeply. This issue of Mission Round Table intends to help us on the way by giving us things to think about, showing us what being the church looks like in various settings, and reminding us that our mission practice should be solidly grounded in a biblical and historical ecclesiology.