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.

Browse individual articles

The Church, Local, Wider, and Universal: A Study in Diversity, Unity, and Relationships

This paper contrasts the way early believers understood the church with the reality that whereas OMF perform many “churchly activities,” from a practical point of view it does “not really have a working ecclesiology.” It lays some biblical bases for understanding the church, overviews some historical understandings of its nature, questions the concept of a [...]

History and Context: Shaping Mission and Church

This paper paints a backdrop that highlights the influence various evangelical groups in nineteenth century England had upon the young Hudson Taylor. It looks at how his Methodist heritage, revivalism, and his association with significant members of the growing Open Brethren movement shaped his thinking and practice as he founded the China Inland Mission and [...]

Teaching God’s Word to a People from an Animistic Background

In doing grassroots evangelism and leadership training among the Karen in Thailand for more than two decades, Hans Christoph Bär has observed how the Karen’s animistic background and worldview affect their understanding and practice of the Christian faith. His article draws out implications that the animistic context may have on teaching the Bible Hans Christoph [...]

Ministry Training for the Majority

This paper challenges us to train church leaders in a way that best serves the church in its mission even if that is not the standard method followed in Bible colleges and theological seminaries today. It addresses a key question: what kinds of ministry education will best serve the church of the twenty-first century as [...]

Let the Nations Be Partners: Pioneering and Partnering in the Plan of God

From his experiences in church planting in southern Taiwan, Thomas McIntyre shares personal lessons about partnering with the local church. Lessons include working with partners in humility, “knowing what is essential and what is not,” and adopting a model of church that makes sense to the local people. Thomas McIntyre is a missionary with OMF [...]

OMF Mobilisation and the Church

This paper addresses some important issues faced by mobilizers and other mission representatives as they interact with home country churches in their desire to best prepare and send people into overseas mission. Many questions can and should be asked as we seek to discover who is responsible for what in mission. Dick Dowsett joined OMF [...]

A Meditation on the Church in Antioch and Mission: Acts 12:25–13:5

This paper is a meditation on the church in Antioch sending out two of its most gifted leaders. Using the text from Acts, it argues that the church was multi-ethnic from its early years and that its worship held open the possibility that the Holy Spirit could move them to set aside members for ministry [...]

Book review – Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History

Reviewed by Rose Dowsett Few people could even attempt this project, surveying the Christian story for the whole world, and through a complex century. Brian Stanley, professor of world Christianity at the University of Edinburgh, is well qualified for this monumental task. He explores the fundamental question, “How did the churches of today get to [...]

Book review – Crossing Cultural Frontiers: Studies in the History of World Christianity

Reviewed by Rose Dowsett This is the third collection of published essays from the pen of Professor Andrew Walls (Edinburgh and Aberdeen). Each volume is a goldmine, and this is no exception. His earlier collections, The Missionary Movement in Christian History (1996) and The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History (2002), have been warmly appreciated in [...]

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