I ran across a really good quote today in an article in Ethics Daily by Bill Wilson. He quotes Craig Van Gelder as follows: "It is not the church of God that has a mission in this world, but the God of mission that has a church in the world … . God is on the move and the church is always catching up with Him. We join His mission …"
The quote resonates strongly with me. God certainly is the One who is vitally concerned that the whole world hear the story of redemption that is made possible by the death of His Son on the cross. Many authors have highlighted the fact that God has always had the world on His heart and His desire is for His people to join Him on that mission of proclaiming the gospel and making disciples of all who will hear and believe. A couple of titles come to mind along those lines: Avery Willis' The Biblical Basis of Missions, and H. Cornell Goerner's book, All Nations in God's Purpose.