This is an immensely helpful book, which charts the recent history of our Communion’s engagement with mission and evangelism. The initials MISAG, MISSIO and IASCOME do not immediately bring to our minds the heart of the Church’s life. But the commissions and standing committee work on mission and evangelism which these initials represent certainly do.
In reading this material it is clear how much both the global nature of the conversation and local contexts of encounter inform how we understand not only our missionary work, but the apostolic purpose of our communion. The particular stories of how church planting is done in Egypt, or how the church emerges from genocidal civil war in Burundi to minister to a nation takes us into the heart of the work of the body of Christ. The discussion of leadership challenges us to ask what kinds of ministers—lay and ordained—does the church require and how shall we to equip them? The Guidelines for Mission and Evangelism Co-ordinators offer concrete advice on appointing individuals who can challenge and resource our work of holistic mission and evangelism.
This book is a resource, and I hope the questions set at the end of each chapter will be taken very seriously, as the issues and answers that arise from them will determine key aspects of the shape of our Communion. Our unity comes from Jesus Christ alone. We exist not for ourselves or for a unity that is our will, but rather for the sake of the unity that is God’s will in Christ. As the Father sent his Son, so we are equipped by his Spirit and sent into the world he made. He sends us to encounter and engage those he loves and those he longs to see living with us a life whose full abundance only Christ can bring. It is in that communion with the God of mission that we discover the deepest sources of our own communion in the church.
+ Rowan Cantuar