As I said at the beginning of this series, this book has had a great impact on me. I think it does an exceptional job of getting to the core of what mission is and what it means to be the Church. Here are a few of the things that I appreciated most about the book.
Stevens wrote that ministry is service rendered in the employ of another. Ministry is not a list of duties. Ministry is anything we do in response to God. Ministry can be teaching a Sunday school class or helping out at a homeless shelter. But ministry to God can also be balancing debits and credits or operating a cash register. Ministry is defined by who we are doing for, not by what we do.
I found the breakdown of vocation into personal, Christian, and human vocations to be very helpful. Our occupation is not our vocation but it can be an expression of our vocation. Vocation is the call of God upon our lives in some very personal ways and in some very corporate ways.
Trinitarian view of ministry
At the top of the list of things I appreciated from this book is the Trinitarian view of ministry. There is the call of the Father to creation stewardship; the call of the Son to Kingdom service; and the call of the Spirit to exercise gifts. The delineation of these combined with a perichoretic understanding of their interrelatedness is powerful. It makes it difficult to see any aspect of life as outside God’s call to ministry.
Ekklesia and diaspora
Conceptualizing the church as the gathered and as the dispersed is absolutely essential to getting a grip on the mission of the Church. Only then does it become clear that the primary locus of the mission is as the saints dispersed throughout the world during the week, not in the four walls of a “sacred” building.
Prophet, Priest and King
I appreciated Stevens recovery of the munus triplex concept, the three offices held by Christ. Seeing ourselves individually and in community as the incarnation of Christ in these functions is powerful stuff.
I hope you have found this in depth review helpful but I would strongly encourage you to go beyond my summaries and get the book. I have only skimmed the major themes. The book expands and explicates many of these topics in rich ways that are well beyond these posts.
An index to my posts is in the following post.