Theology without mission is impotent. Theology must be lived out to actually be understood because understanding something (knowing something) requires experience. A book can only take you so far. You can read about waterfalls and rainbows all day but until you have experienced them you can’t really appreciate their power or beauty.
Knowledge without wonder.
Mission without theology is misguided. We must have a robust biblical theology of mission in order for that mission to be founded on biblical principles and aimed in the right direction. You can go on mission for a lie. You can go on mission for a misunderstanding. But if you go on mission with a solid biblical understanding of God (theology) and man (anthropology) then you are likely to have given your efforts to the right direction.
There are people who are on mission but are completely misguided. There are others who know the truth and know the answers to questions that are being asked but aren’t connected with people who are seeking.
What is the solution? It is scientist-practitioner discipleship.
Just over 20 years ago in clinical psychology a model emerged at UC Boulder called the “scientist practitioner model.” This model of training clinical psychologists blended research and practice. It meant that those doing research were also doing clinical practice and those doing clinical practice were also involved in the latest research. This meant that you not only knew how to think through the issues but that you knew how to do it with real people so that your results would be applicable to real people.
We need this in Christianity today. We need people who are serious about learning the Bible and living the Bible. And if you learn the Bible then there should be some missionary impulse taking place in your soul.
If you are the ivory tower type – begin to pray that God connects you with people who need what you know. You might consider prayer walking your neighborhood.
If you are the mission type but don’t know much Bible…maybe you are a new Christian and on fire for sharing your faith…make sure you are growing in your knowledge so that what you are sharing is accurate. The extroverts out there might struggle to slow down the people time to increase time in the Word but it will pay off – I promise you!