Thoughts on Missio Dei

I am prepping up for teaching on Missio Dei in Sheffield on Jan 20th. The event is called Resource and its a part of a year long program to teach church planting in the emerging culture. I get to kick off the weekend with this topic – the Missio Dei or mission of God. The concept is that mission is not a program of the church but rather an attribute of God. Mission comes first from the heart of God and we are caught up in it rather than initiating it. Mission is primarily the work of God and we participate with God in what He is doing.

Missio Dei sees our mission as stemming from the Triune God:

The Father sends the Son,

the Father and the Son send the Spirit

The Father and and Son and the Spirit send the church. into the world.

As the Father sent me, so I send you. (Jesus)

Our Christology influences our missiology which influences our ecclesiology.

The tension points have to do with the extent and necessity of our involvement (are we still really important to God or can He do a better job without us?) and with theologians and pastors who feel missiology should be subjugated and sidelined.

I have quite a few books on this – I studied missiology at Fuller School of World Mission – but there is still a lot of resources i would like to obtain. There is a book that I cannot get my hands on since it is out of print and quite rare. Its called Missions Under The Cross (1953) which is a compilation of the addresses delivered at the IMC (International Missionary Conference) in Willengen. I found a copy in USA for $33 but thats far too much. Please send me an email if you find the book for a good price . . . thanks.

UPDATE: Hey – a few of you found the book on ebay for $10. Thanks. I ordered it!

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Ed C says:

    I found it going for $32.95 at Seems like the price is really in a freefall. . .

  • scotty says:

    Transforming Mission is the first I’ve encountered the term Missio Dei. I love the concept though. The church isn’t the center of mission. It is God’s turning to the world in Christ and the cross. Christ’s calling us to do as he did. It is always God’s one continued mission in history. Not our missions.
    I’ve always looked at the ’emerging church’ not as some new activity of the church to reach new generations, but what it is looking like, right now, when we are attempting to get on board with what He is doing. But we are only in His service when we are about His mission in the world and not our own. I know what my agendas are, but I need to be about aligning myself with His and laying mine down.
    Missio Dei also seems to point to the fact that this is His ongoing work. He’s been about this before I was here. Other’s have been serving Him before I was here. It so often seems as though I am running late and need to catch up, but I just need to jump in and do what I can right here and right now with those around me.
    I want to be off saving the world right now, but I know job number 1 for me is my young and nearly tribal size family at home and I am struggling enough with that for now. I need not worry about my lack of involvement elsewhere. I can’t be here if I’m there. God’s strategy. Not mine. I am unnecessary, but he will use me because He delights in it.
    sorry about the long comment….i kind of needed to hear myself say that last bit.

  • Ken says:

    I researched this in seminary last year. It is amazing that this concept is concidered so amazing. I have always seen the church as a mission outpost for God to use in the community. I think having missions overseas is important but it is equally important to God furthering the mission of his people in the immediate community.
    I know that I have always leaned toward a parish model of church because I think that God wants us to meet the needs of those immediately surrounding his church. Everyone needs to hear the Gospel and have their needs met, not just those in 3rd world countries.

  • duo says:

    ReSource sounds interesting Andrew
    do you have to attend the whole year or can we go to just one?
    PS: would be good to catch up too!
    God bless

  • robbymac says:

    Dang. Wish I could be there to take that one in!
    You mentioned Fuller, so I assume you’ve got some of Charles Kraft’s stuff? His “Christianity and Culture” is great, and I really liked his “Anthropology of Christian Witness”.
    Cool to hear that you got the book for $10 — cyber family at its best!

  • I think this is an important point – if God is missional in his character, then we and the church need to be missional in ours. Mission can’t be optional or ancillary – it’s part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian, to be the church.
    I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make the trackback thing work, so I’ll just do it the old fashioned way – I’ve commented on this further over here.

  • TallSkinnyKiwi: Thoughts on Missio Dei

    TallSkinnyKiwi: Thoughts on Missio Dei
    Mission comes first from the heart of God and we are caught up in it rather than initiating it. Mission is primarily the work of God and we participate with God in what He is doing.

  • blind beggar says:

    God is missional in character, but for most of the American church aleast, we don’t reflect his character. I’ve been attempting to articulate what a missional people would “look like” at . My comments are to long to post here.

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  • Great post and thoughts. The latin term is fresh to me but the thought behind it goes back to the heart behind “In the beginning God” I love it. My next series is on engaging this very mission. I think I’ll call it “missio Dei”.

  • paul thaxter says:

    Does Missio Dei say Christology-Missiology-Ecclesiology…? or are they really too simplistic categories?
    Isn’t mission dei pluralised and a less useful approach today?
    take care Paul

  • brad andrews says:

    i am doing a directed study with ed stetzer right now through liberty theological seminary. the paper i am working on right now is related to the development of the missio Dei in the concilliar missions movement from Rosin to Hartenstein to Vicedom to Hoekendijk to today.
    i am wondering if you would be so kind as to give me your slant on the development and what books and/or theologians really get at the missio Dei concept.

  • dont forget david bosch. i will give it some thought, brad, and let you know if anything substantial arises.

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