Mission from the Gospels overview

Unit One: Mission before the Gospels Download full unit [pdf]
Explore the power of the oral tradition in both the life of the early church and personal life.

Unit Two: Learning Mission from Matthew Download full unit [pdf]
Read Matthew through the lens of mission. Look at your own neighboring community as a place to apply Matthew’s mission instructions.

Unit Three: Learning Mission from Mark Download full unit [pdf]
View mission through the eyes of Mark and his community of faith. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples are plunged into God’s mission. In fact, they are invited to participate in Christ’s mission before they come to faith. This observation has led some scholars to conclude that Mark’s community also doubted, and that Mark teaches doubters that true belief comes only through participating in God’s mission. The disciples are also described as a fearful group of Jesus followers. Mark’s Gospel reveals that they have reason to be. Jesus, in Mark, constantly pushes the disciples beyond their comfort zone. Following Jesus, it seems, is risky business. Being engaged in God’s mission might cost someone his or her life.

Unit Four: Learning Mission from Luke Download full unit [pdf]
Encounter mission through the eyes of the writer of Luke/Acts. Look both back and ahead, just as Luke looks back to the Prophets of Israel and looks ahead to the Acts of God’s Spirit through the church. As does each of the Gospel writers, Luke emphasizes the importance of serving others in Jesus’ name. However, more than in any other Gospel, Luke takes a further step by going beyond service to advocating on behalf of those served, especially the poor and marginalized. Luke, more than the other writers, calls for justice in the world—the same kind of justice spoken of by the prophets, especially by Isaiah. Unlike the Old Covenant hope, God’s justice is now for the poor and the oppressed in all nations. And the mission of God’s justice comes without retribution. Luke challenges us to go beyond serving those in need to advocating on behalf of those we serve.

Unit Five: Learning Mission from John’s Gospel Download full unit [pdf]
View mission through the eyes of John and his faith community. John’s Gospel reads and feels differently from the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. For many people, John’s Gospel is the “spiritual” Gospel. Yet, when read through the lens of missional engagement, it provides razor‐sharp insight from the very heart of God into the nature of God’s mission. Investigate how the nature and mission of God is revealed in Jesus (“the Word that became flesh”), and how the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is sent to embark on this same mission—a mission that calls for reaching out to all of creation in love. The missional challenge for the church then was as it is today: to engage the world in God’s love without condemnation.