One of my students found a book on World Missions to help him write up a paper for a paper on theology of mission. The book is Introducing World Missions.

From memory when I looked at it on a break from another class in it is a diagram of three sort of concentric circles describing the relationship of God, Mission and Missions. The outermost circle is the Missio Dei, all that God is doing in the world, the middle circle is Mission, all that the church does in the world, and the inner circle is Missions, where the church is explicitly evangelising.

I liked this at first until I start to write about it. Mission is all that the church does for God or by God’s grace in the world as the church does not sin for God. This is the usual problems of model they reflect certain aspects of truth but not all of it. This model like most fails to address the sinfulness of the church.

Secondly what work is God doing in the world that is not mission? I can argue that he sustains creation but I am not sure that is really part of the missio dei. This means that in some way as I have argued the Kingdom is bigger than the church but the church does not do all for the sake of the Kingdom.

Not all books are great and this is a difficult subject made worse by imprecise language. So is this a helpful model and if so how?