Okay, here are my thoughts on the so-called Missional Tree (I surprised no one has commented on this). The idea of a missional tree is pretty cool and potentially helpful; however, this tree is an incomplete, second generation tree. I realize that these books are practitioner oriented, with the exception of Guder, but there’s not one biblical theology of mission listed. What about Chris Wright’s landmark The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative or Stetzer and Hesselgrave’s forthcoming Mission: God’s Initiative in the World?
All the books listed here were published within the past ten years (and we need fresh publications like these). Missional theology has been in existence much longer. Look no further than Ed Stetzer’s fine historical work on the Meanings of Missional to uncover some of the missional greats. But before there was Stetzer and Guder there was Bosch, Walls, Hiebert, Kraft, Van Engen, etc. These missional redwoods tower over many of the books features in the missional tree, both in history and content. Consider this rich description of the missional church from Andrew Walls first published 20 years ago:
Christian faith is missionary both in its essence and in its history. At the heart of the Christian fiath lie assumptions about the Lord and the Ground of the uinverse and the common nature of humanity and affirmations about Jesus Christ that forbid its appropriation to any person, group or community as a private possession. The conviction that Jesus is Lord and the testimony that Christ is risen cannot mean that much unless they are to be shared. But both the faith of Christians and the nature of the church are missionary in a much deeper sense, more closely related to the “sending” idea from which the word “missionary” came…The mission of the church is not simply to add to itself but to bear witness that by his cross and resurrection Christ brought back the whole creation and defeated the powers that spoil it. In this sense all Christian life is missionary, as is the work of Christians and their commerce and habits of life, their art and music and every activity that demands choice.
If that isn’t deep and wide missiology, then I don’t know what is! Walls has influenced many missiologists. His first-hand experience in Africa outpaces the missional wisdom of many popular missional authors. We do well to get under the shade of such missional redwoods, to think their thoughts after them, and plant churches that sink strong missional roots into the soil of our cities, towns, and churches.