On mission with God: Living Sent
During the past half-century, there has been significant shift from understanding mission as simply the geographical expansion of the Christian faith from the West to the non-Christian world towards a more expansive understanding of mission as God's mission--particularly within a Trinitarian theological framework. This tenant has become known as the missio Dei...
In short, "mission" refers back to its fixed basis - to the movement of the Father in sending His Son and Spirit. God, who is ontologically "missionary" and, as God is the acting subject in His self-revelation, He maintains the initiative in this activity.
This divine missionary activity includes yet another noteworthy shift in thought: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world. Mission is therefore God's work in the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is a church because there is a mission, not vice versa.
The mission of God calls us toward action. Christians, individually and corporately are called to live pressing toward missional activity in the world.
A "Kingdom mentality" draws on the prevailing missionary text of John 20:21 - Christ, in His own "sentness" commands the sending of the Christian community. Missio Dei, therefore, expresses this missionary existence of the Christian community. We are to live sent.
The New Testament undoubtedly places the mission of the church within the larger context of God's purpose to restore the whole creation (Rom. 8:18-25; Col. 1:20). But it also gives the church a focal occupation in the life of the Kingdom: God's biblically mandated vessel for His redemptive agenda in the world.
...The Father sent the Son to accomplish this redemption and sends the Spirit to apply this redemption to the hearts of men and women. Included in God's mission is the missio ecclesia whereby He empowers the church for witness and service that leads to witness. Believers are called to share the gospel with people so they can come to know Christ. Moving from God, through the church, to the world, God's redemptive work results in people of every tribe, tongue and nation responding in lifelong worship of the God. Ultimately the missio Dei will encompass all of creation when God creates a new heaven and new earth.