Missional and Missions: Getting Our Priorities Straight

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Part 2 of Ed Stetzer’s chapter from the recent release “Conversations on When Everything Is Missions”

If in your travels you have ever passed by another country’s embassy, you may see people standing guard, usually in uniform and with their national flag. Those soldiers and the ambassador they guard inside are living, breathing representations of their own country living sent lives in a foreign land. Their task is to represent their home country and its interests while in that land.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul refers to himself as an ambassador. It is an appropriate description of all Christians. The local church is, in function, an embassy of Heaven, and its people are to be ambassadors living sent lives—living, breathing representations of the King and His kingdom. As a member of a local church, you are involved in the missional task of making the invisible kingdom break through into the visible—to proclaim that the King reigns and is reconciling the world to Himself (5:19). The function of these embassies (churches) and the ambassadors within their walls (Christians) is to propagate the good news of the King and the kingdom we represent. In our case this does not simply mean that we go and do good for the city (though it includes that). It does not simply mean that we serve the poor (though it includes that, too). Paul considers a proclamation element central to our ambassadorships:

“We are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God’” (5:20, CSB).

Justice and evangelism—gospel demonstration and proclamation— are not two sides of the same coin, which implies that for one to function, the other must be hidden. Instead they are inextricably held together—the “two big rocks” of …

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