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We do not have a mission for God in the world.
Rather, the God of mission has us in the world.
Each of us has a vital role in the world. We are invited to participate
God's generous love bringing heaven to earth through us, now!
The seven sessions of BEYOND Duty guide individuals, groups and churches to our places as participants in God's mission in the world.
I originally wrote Beyond Duty to help liberate mission fanatics like me from enslavement to a human-centered approach to mission. That liberation is still needed today. In our eagerness to make a difference in the world we can quickly subvert the good news of God's sovereign love into our ambitious, burdensome and at times tedious effort to fulfill our mission in the world.
This revised and expanded edition pursues this, seeking God's liberating grace to free us from the vain presumption that the future of God's mission is up to us. Through a combination of our compassion regarding urgent needs, what feels to us like the inactivity of God, and the drive of our own need to make a difference in the world-many of us all too easily take the needs of the world onto our shoulders as our personal responsibility. This sounds so foolish. However, mission narcissism runs deep.
Though it may be obvious, it still deserves to be said again: Our central commitment is to God and God's kingdom, not to ourselves or our service for God in that kingdom. To make anything other than loving God and living in God's love for our neighbor-even something as good and noble as God's mission in the world-the central passion and commitment of our life is just plain old idolatry dressed in Christian clothing.
I've lived much of my life seeking to serve in God's mission, but I wonder at times for whom I am really working. My suspicion is that sometimes I've spread the unpleasant aroma of my need to make a difference in the world more than the "sweet aroma of Christ." In my more honest moments, I admit that some of "my mission" was to reinforce my sense of significance. It's so easy to become intoxicated by the seductive lies of our society that size determines significance, speed measures impact, and worth depends on success.
The gospel frees us to live from the center of God's encompassing love. We needn't live from the burdensome center of "me". It's not about my mission, ambitions, work and weaknesses. We can live as grateful participants in God's love for the world. In the midst of our obedient service, we can sing and play and not take ourselves so seriously.
What others are saying about BEYOND Duty:
"A refreshing departure from usual mission books." Emmanuel Katongole
"I am pleased to recommend this book to you." Bill Hybels
"This may be the most important book I've read all year!" Steve Haas
"An excellent, practical tool for churches." Ron Sider
"Read this rich reflection and serve with freedom." Mark Labberton
"Inviting, full of stories, Christ-centered." Steve & Sharol Hayner
"Substantial and practical. I commend it warmly." Vinay Samuel
"This is a wise guide." Tom Theriault