On a number of occassions I’ve mentioned Christopher Wrights wonderful book The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. For those of you who don’t want to read the entirety of this admittedly rather large book (shame on you) there is a short article by Dr. Wright on the Christianity Today Website which you should read. In fact, if you don’t read it, I’ll come round to your house with Bassam and get her to bite you!
The map of global Christianity that our grandparents knew has been turned upside-down. At the start of the 20th century, only ten percent of the world’s Christians lived in the continents of the south and east. Ninety percent lived in North America and Europe, along with Australia and New Zealand. But at the start of the 21st century, at least 70 percent of the world’s Christians live in the non-Western world—more appropriately called the majority world.
More Christians worship in Anglican churches in Nigeria each week than in all the Episcopal and Anglican churches of Britain, Europe, and North America combined. There are more Baptists in Congo than in Britain. More people in church every Sunday in communist China than in all of Western Europe. Ten times more Assemblies of God members in Latin America than in the U.S. …
… But behind all this stands God with a mission (the redemption of his whole Creation from the wreckage of human and satanic evil). The mission of God is what fills the Bible from the brokenness of the nations in Genesis 11 to the healing of the nations in Revelation 21-22. So any mission activity to which we are called must be seen as humble participation in this vast sweep of the historical mission of God. All mission or missions that we initiate, or into which we invest our vocation, gifts, and energies, flows from the prior mission of God. God is on mission, and we, in that wonderful phrase of Paul, are “co-workers with God.”
This God-centered refocusing of mission turns inside-out our obsession with mission plans, agendas, goals, strategies, and grand schemes.
We ask, “Where does God fit into the story of my life?” when the real question is, “Where does my little life fit into the great story of God’s mission?”