Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

John Howard Yoder on What it Means to be Missional

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“The political novelty that God brings into the world is a community of those who serve instead of ruling, who suffer instead of inflicting suffering, whose fellowship crosses social lines instead of reinforcing them. This new Christian community in which the walls are broken down not by human idealism or democratic legalism but by the work of Christ is not only a vehicle of the gospel or only a fruit of the gospel; it is the good news. It is not merely the agent of mission or the constituency of a mission agency. This is the mission.” – John Howard Yoder The Royal Priesthood

How does Yoder’s understanding of mission correlate with your understanding?  How does this understanding of being missional shape how we ought to approach mission?

6 Responses to John Howard Yoder on What it Means to be Missional

  1. This is certainly my concept of mission… it’s 1 Peter 2:9-10 lived out.

    However, a slight clarification… too often Yoder’s words are taken as a “works” based faith where what is important is what we do and making sure we do the right things.

    But we have to remember that Yoder was speaking to a context where the Christian faith in the mid 20th century North American was starting to focus inward to the salvation of self, to the self gratification of the “get out of hell free” of the revivalist movement, etc. One must read texts like “The Royal Priesthood” and “Politics of Jesus” as a corrective against such things in order to focus that our salvation and transformation of self is not a self-fulfilling act but an act that transforms us into an outward moving mission. We are saved, not to make ourselves perfect, but so that we may continue Christ’s mission to bring that perfection to the world.

  2. ronfurg says:

    Great quote JR. It took me some time to take it in and I could still use some fleshing out of parts of it. If I’m reading it right, he is saying that community is the mission with the community itself being Christians who are living out the good news/gospel with The One who is The Good News. If that is what He is saying then I can’t take issue with it. That being the case, I’m called and drawn to build community around the person of Christ Jesus. So, are you going to share with us what you think about it?

  3. chrismorton82 says:

    What do you think he means by “political novelty”?

  4. JR Woodward says:

    Thanks Robert for your thoughts. Like it.

  5. JR Woodward says:


    I’ll try and give some reflections a bit later. Heading to Manchester. Will do so when I get a minute.

  6. JR Woodward says:


    When it comes to what he means by political novelty I think he is reminding us that the good news is the church that walks in the work of Christ is political and social in nature and something we don’t find in the world, it is unusual or “novel”. What is your thoughts?

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