Bringing the Text to Life
It bears repeating: The church does not have a mission. It is God's mission in the world that has (or has not) a church. Mission is what God does. God is already active in the world. God will not be without a witness. The gospel is at work in the world today. The job of the church is first of all not to put forward God and the gospel but to discover and recognize the work of God and the gospel that is already going on in the world.
God's mission in the world is to save the world. That is the business we are in - the world-saving, world-shaking, world-shaping, world-making business. That is why John Wesley made every member of his societies pledge and pray to "save this nation and spread scriptural holiness" throughout the earth.
Ursula K. Le Guin distinguishes between "making a new world" and "making a world new." As a science-fiction writer, she confesses to spending a great deal of time "making a new world," fashioning imaginary worlds for the mind to play in. But there is also...