I recently read Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer and David Putman. The book aims to help churches become missionaries in their communities.
According to the authors, “breaking the code … means discovering the principles that work in every context, selecting the tools most relevant for your context … and then learning to apply them in a missionally effective manner. It means thinking missiologically” (2).
For many churches, “missions” simply means supporting missionaries and ministries in other countries, but “missional thinking means doing missions everywhere” (3), including our local communities, as well as other countries.
Our local communities in the United States are becoming greater mission fields. In all mission fields there are barriers that have to be crossed. Stetzer and Putman state, “Breaking the code means that we have to recognize that there are cultural barriers (in addition to spiritual ones) that blind people from understanding the gospel” (4). Breaking the code is about finding ways to bridge those barriers.
Bridging the barriers begins with love. If we’re going to reach our communities with the good news of Jesus Christ, we must love people.
You cannot grow a biblically faithful church without loving people and preaching the gospel. But loving people means understanding and communicating with them. Preaching the gospel means to proclaim a gospel about the Word becoming flesh—and proclaiming that the body of Christ needs to become incarnate in every cultural expression. (15)
The part of the book that will stick with me the most are the four phrases that describe the church’s mission. The authors state, “Jesus gave four directives that outline the missional mandate of the church” (30) …
- We are sent (John 20.21)
- To all kinds of people (Matthew 28.18-20)
- With a message (Luke 24.46-48)
- Empowered by the Spirit (Acts 1.6-8)
Indeed, we are sent to all kinds of people with a message, empowered by the Holy Spirit!