"Mission" has become, for many North American Christians, an ambiguous and often uncomfortable term. To many it brings to mind a past in which western culture was identified with the gospel in missionary practice and programs. Distressed with this history and uncertain about how to overcome it, many prefer to ignore the New Testament mandate that the church must be in mission if it is to be the church. Others swing the other way, declaring that everything the church does is mission, depriving the idea of mission of its power to define those specific actions of God which proclaim the gospel and build God's kingdom.
"The church exists by missions, just as fire exists by burning." With these words of Emil Brunner, the author reminds us that to be the church is to be in mission. After describing the various "captivities of mission" which plague North American Christianity, the author argues for a robust and engaged practice of mission, beginning in congregations and extending to the broader community.