John Wesley lived and ministered in a time when a Parish Priest had a defined parish. The city was divided into parishes, and the people in a particular parish had one choice - the church in their geographic parish. Pastors did not minister to folks outside their parish, and people did not attend a church in another parish besides the one in which they lived.
Wesley said, "I look upon all the world as my parish." Wherever he traveled, he proclaimed the good news about Jesus! His understanding of ministry was not confined to a geographic place. Jesus did not come to redeem only those in one place (or one nation or one ethnicity). Jesus came to redeem the lost, wherever they are found.
The Missio Dei, the Mission of God, is the redemption of everyone and everything! When the Kingdom of God is fully realized, His redemption will mark more than just our souls. His redemption will include creation itself.
Romans 8:19-20 says, "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God."
Nature will be redeemed. Politics and governments will be replaced by a Kingdom with the only good and perfect King. People will care about each other. The Bible even promises the lion will lay down with the lamb (and not eat it!). The Missio Dei is to redeem everything, including us!
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). And Jesus sent His followers out on the same mission!
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
No wonder John Wesley crashed through the parish restriction, took to his horse, and rode the length of England to share Christ. And no wonder his spiritual grandchildren today have evangelism and missions in our DNA. We seek to join God in His Missio Dei. We seek to redeem. We seek to spread the good news about Jesus Christ across the street and around the world. We seek to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and share a cup of clean, cold water with the thirsty.
We do so because the Missio Dei is our mission. We do so because all the world is our parish. May God make our witness both winsome and effective!