My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a fantastic book! I loved Dickon’s combination of scholarly acumen and practical wisdom. The “best kept secret of Christian mission,” it turns out, is that all Christians are called to missions, in some way or other.
This is not the same as saying that all Christians must share the gospel with at least one person per day. Dickson came out of that mentality, and shows the flaws in such thinking. Dickson also spent many years as an evangelist, and he argues that some people have the gifts and calling of an evangelist. But, he also acknowledges that most people don’t have this calling. How, then, can all Christians participate in mission?
Dickson, with a careful balance of substantive exegesis and pastoral directions, works through various ways the Bible presents the missional calling of all Christians. First, we pray, both for people we know who need Christ, and also for the evangelists in our churches. Secondly, we support missions with our money. Thirdly, we support missions with our lifestyle. The way we live, and the good works that we do, will draw others to Christ.
Dickson then spends quite a few pages defining the Gospel Biblically. It turns out that the Gospel is quite a bit more powerful than the gospel-bytes and sinners’ prayer that most of us were taught in evangelism classes. (I love how Dickson invites his readers, at the end the book, to pray the LORD’S PRAYER, rather than some sappy “sinner’s prayer”! 🙂
Dickson then lays out the exegetical groundwork for believing that a distinct office of “evangelist” exists in Scripture. The chapter I most enjoyed, however, was chapter 10, where he shows that our public worship is evangelistic. For a liturgy-geek like me, it was the icing on the cake. We evangelize simply by worshipping God! Of course, this implies that we actually bring our non-Christian friends to church, something I am personally not very good at doing …
Perhaps that’s why chapter 11 is so important. Dickson shows how we can magnify Christ in our daily conversation. There are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to drop little phrases that glorify God, and might spark further conversations.
The last chapter is a fictional story, drawing together many pieces of Dickson’s experieces with evangelism. God uses all sorts of ways to bring people to Himself. Dickson does a splendid job of showing our every area of our lives has the potential to be missional!