I spend some time at mission conferences and I am always stunned at how something that should be pretty simple like “missions” has taken on the character of so much else in our life of faith and that is the individualistic nature of how “we” view it, or the attitude we take toward it. Note that what has happened over the years is that there have been movements that try and define not only church, but mission. There has been the liturgical movement, the emergent church movement, the small group – house church movement, the Missio Dei movement and on and on it goes. Part of our problem is that in many ways for us to fund mission we have to define it so that others can make it “theirs”. We spend a lot of time then in looking personal attitudes and motivations for why we do what we do.
I am rereading Micheal Horton’s tough book “Christless Christianity” Baker Books 2008. This on page 198
“The best way of reintegrating the marks and mission is to start with the gospel itself. I have to say that, at least in my experience, traditionalists and radicals both emphasize our activity over God’s. We come to church primarily to do something. We come to serve rather than to be served. Many traditionalists oppose seeker-driven approaches to mission by insisting that what matters in the service is not what we get out of it but what we put into it. God is the audience (receiving our worship) and we are the actors, according to many advocates of traditional worship. Seeker churches typically view themselves as resources for personal improvement, and the Emergent Church movement considers the church a community of world-transforming disciples. For all of their differences, each of these models practically ignores the central point that God’s mission is to serve us through the marks of preaching and sacrament and that the body will be built up in Christ together and bring its witness and good works to its neighbors in the world.”
At one of the conferences I attended one of the delegates from a former Soviet Union Baltic State said the Divine Service nurtures us and delivers God’s gifts to us so that we leave the service to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. God serves us in the liturgy so that we can serve others. I would like to think that is the reason for so much of the frustration in our church over the contemporary service over and against the liturgy but I am not sure it is. But he spelled it out – missions is the result of God serving us.