Life On Mission: Joining The Everyday Mission of God, by Dustin Willis & Aaron Coe
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
In reading this book and its approach on involving the whole mass of believers to be discipled and serve as models of Christianity to the outside world at large, I was struck by its similarity to my church’s recent regional leadership conference in which I took part . In other words, the message that this book provided was a topical one that dealt with concerns that have been on my mind and the mind of other people I happen to know recently. I was struck by the way that the author seemed to indicate that the only Christian population that mattered was those who said themselves to be “born again” or, equivalently, who identified as evangelicals, which amount to only a small amount of those who identify as Christians overall or who espouse a belief in Jesus Christ. While the author and I clearly have some differences, I was struck by the sensible nature of much that I heard and the call to do more than I read within it, even if that seems to be a fairly common call these days.
This book takes up a bit less than 200 pages with its full contents. The book is divided into five parts. After a foreword and introduction the first four chapters look at the big picture of living on mission, looking at the life of a believer as an everyday missionary wherever they happen to be (1), the current reality of Evangelical Christianity in North America (2), the mission of God to reproduce Himself in believers (3), and the need to realign our perspective with the Kingdom of God (4). After that the author looks at the foundations of belief in the proclamation of the Gospel (5), the development of spiritual maturity (6), life in a Christian community (7, the topic of the next book I read by the author), and the process of intentional discipleship by those who are further along in the Christian journey (8). At this point the authors turn to some easy to remember goals for the Church, namely the identification of people to serve (9), investing time and energy and resources in their development as believers (10), the invitation of people to enter into a relationship with Christ and with the body of the Church (11), and the increase of obedience and worship of God on the earth thanks to God working through our efforts (12). The fourth part of the book consists of a single chapter on ministry steps and the pitfalls and plans involved in living on mission (13) and the book as a whole closes with a six week study guide that asks questions about the chapters and is designed to prompt discussion in a reading group from this book.
In reading this book I am struck by the fact that personal example has always been a compelling approach to evangelism, whether or not it has been in favor with church authorities at different times when it was thought better to leave evangelism to the professionals. In addition, in reading this book I put it into an overall context by which institutions in general (including governments) are facing a large degree of difficulty in doing the jobs that they sought to do themselves and are devolving those tasks back to ordinary people and thus increasing the burdens faced by those ordinary people. Whether or not the burdens are just–and in this case I think they are–I am struck by the pendulum swing of institutions seeking responsibilities and the power to fill those and then abdicating those responsibilities back to the people when their own performance is not up to snuff. This book can be taken as increasing evidence on the limitations of institutions to proclaim God’s word and their desire for ordinary believers to be full partners in that task. Whether that is something to mourn or celebrate depends on your own perspective, I suppose.
 See, for example: