Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

When the Members Are the Missionaries: An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

When the Members Are the Missionaries: An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People

Article excerpt

When the Members are the Missionaries: An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People. By A. Wayne Schwab. Essex, New York: Member Mission Press, 2002. xxiii + 203 pp. 1.9.95 (paper).

When the Members are the Missionaries is a thought-provoking book describing how to move a congregation from "body-mission" to "member-mission." Schwab defines "body-mission" as the ordinary way in which mission is understood in many congregations today, such as a committee in the parish who organizes an outreach ministry through a food pantry or a refugee resettlement. In "member-mission" each individual is challenged to undertake mission in his or her own daily life.

In the first part of the book Schwab relates the stories of fourteen individuals who are involved in missionary activities in their own daily life at home, in the work environment, in the local community, in the wider world, during leisure times, and in the church. These are stories of mothers, family peacemakers, lawyers, mathematicians, and clergy. Mission happens in the home, on camping trips, in local government meetings, and even in a group organized for fly tying. These stories allow the individual to look at mission in a different light, bringing about the paradigm shift that Schwab argues must be made in order for congregations to live out the mission Jesus gave to his disciples.

One of the strengths of Schwab's book is that he roots the call to mission in baptism. Each and every one is called to mission through baptism. He challenges the view of baptism as an admission to membership within the church. "Baptism is dying to an old life and being raised to new life in Jesus Christ. This meaning of baptism demands talk of mission, not just membership" (pp. …

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