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Jan 18, 2011


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I tend to agree as it sounds right however, isn't our "mission" as was the Mission of Jesus; to set people free from sin, bondage, slavery, help the poor and broken, take care of the widows, the sick, those in prison, the blind, etc. as well as take care of the very physical creation its self.

To bring the good news of the Gospel to the nations and ultimately Love God and people, with who we are and what we do.

Michael W. Kruse

David, certainly the ministry Jesus set in motion is mission. We are sent by him to carry on his ministry. I said at the outset "Mission means being sent for a purpose by another." But we worship a Trinitarian God. Jesus is not the only one who sends ... who gives us mission. The cultural mandate is mission every bit as much as the mission Jesus inaugurated.

In one sense, some see the cultural mandate mission as coming from the Father. The Son inaugurates the mission of reconciliation and redemption. The Spirit works within the community, calling and equipping members for particular service in response to both Father and Son mission. All three persons are sending us in mission.

In another sense, as we learn in John 1, Jesus was there at creation, creating the world and giving humanity its mission. As a trinitarian God, each person of the trinity is involved in the work of the other.

And this is just my point: We have collapsed "ministry" and "mission" into ONLY those reconciling and redemptive works Jesus inaugurated. God's mission and the mission he gives us is FAR more expansive.

If the things you described are what constitutes mission, then are we not sinning by fitting pipes, balancing debits and credits, and debugging programs? The overwhelming majority of our time is devoted to this work and it has nothing to do with "mission" as you framed it above.


Maybe...However in my last para (by the way I agree with what you said) didn't I say that our mission (implied) is to Love God and people by who we are and what we do ?

So of course those that are fotting pipes, balancing debits and credits, selling ice-cream or other occupations are in some sense and in the case of others are really doing the work God has called them to accomplish.

But doesn't there have to be an understanding that what it is I'm doing, I'm doing for the Lords Glory and not my own. Isn't that the reason so many have little regard for a job well done and even so called white collar crime, because we don't understand that our occupation is really, or can be, a vocation ?

Michael W. Kruse

David, R. Paul Stevens says something to the effect that ministry is not defined by WHAT we do but WHO we are doing for. (Not great English but you get the idea.) I wrote in the post that the basis for functioning in God's temple-Kingdom is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So absolutely it means that our work is being done to God's glory. If it is not being done to God's glory, then it is not mission. The church at Ephesus in Revelation is commended for doing all the right things but it had lost its first love. We risk the same trap in any aspect of mission God gives us.

I get the sense that many theologians and pastors worry that people value their work too much. Their response is to play down daily work and elevate acts of reconciling ministry as alternatives instead. But the problem is that people do not value their work ENOUGH. They do not see its eternal implications and what it means in terms of a loving relationship with God.

Joseph Sunde

In your reference to my summary of VanDrunen you say: "Progressive versions tend to reduce mission down to communities of justice but both see virtually no intrinsic value in the day to day work of the people."

I'm not sure if VanDrunen would say there is "no intrinsic value in the day to day work of the people." In the third part of his book he speaks first about the church (he *does* see this as *more* important). He then talks about "Education, Vocation, and Politics." I haven't read this part yet (probably tomorrow!), but I know he encourages Christians to participate in cultural endeavors to some extent. I'm not sure, however, that it would go as far as what you're outlining here.

Thanks for your insights. Very interesting post.

Michael W. Kruse

Hey, thanks Joseph. My experience is that most theologians tend to find only instrumental value in work, not intrinsic. I'll be interested to read your take on how he addresses these issues.


Michael, I agree. I think people do not value thier work as much as they should. I think Pastors have had much to do with this view in not talking to how Scripture supports this idea.

Also at play is the view that somehow the market place and spiritual life are seperate ideas or things.

People tend to view these two things diferently I think. (spirtual life and the market place) So it's easy to understand how people can view their own work as less worthy than say the professional church worker. It's sad, but leads to other issues for people as well. Like how we see are stuff, money, and others as well.

Michael W. Kruse

Exactly. Tony Campolo says it is great to give a 10% tithe to the church. But the big question is what we are going to do with the other 90% of God's money. We can have only two relationships to wealth. We can be stewards or we can forego wealth. Really bad stewardship is still stewardship.

The failure to see work as mission leads to a whole bunch of problems.

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