I am not buying it. Is not the gospel Jesus the Messiah himself has come to reconcile the world to its creator, the God of Israel? When this gospel transforms the person, then it becomes the good news to the poor and the oppressed.
In chapter one which is titled "Missional vs Attractional" Slaughter says that what is wrong with the church is that it is overly concerned with attracting numbers, and less concerned with fulfilling mission. This is counter to what us United Methodist are hearing from the conference level. What we are hearing is that what is important is the number of people attending worship, the number of people professing faith, the number of people involved in small groups, the amount of money collected weekly, the amount of money spent on mission, the number of people involved in mission. I agree with Slaughter that we should be involved in mission.
At the end of chapter one lays out what Jesus is calling his mission in three "biblical mandates." First, is the The Great Requirement" from Micah 6:8: "He has shown all you people what is god. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God." Within this are three acts, justice, mercy, and humbleness. These are fundamental to the Christian life-style.
The second biblical mandate is from John 15:12-13: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Yes, this is true, but I think the fuller statement of what Jesus intends as his mission is a life that lives the two great commandments that starts with “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” (Matthew 22:37–40, ESV). A church needs both legs on which to stand.
The third biblical mandate is from Matthew: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, ESV) I think this goes without saying key to what Jesus thought he was doing, and commissioning disciples to do.
The question is what does this look like in the church? And another question is everyone in the church a disciple, or more accurately and disciple-in-process? If not who has control over your faith community,the disciples or the other folks who are there for other reasons than discipleship? These questions lead to one of the propositions that Slaughter made in the beginning of the chapter: "We invite the uninitiated to become members of a movement that they don't even understand without clearly laying out the expectations of the movenment's revolutionary leader." I think this is a serous question for the United Methodist church for two reasons. In the small local churches with which I am familiar there is no intentional process for membership. Secular organisations have a more intentional process than the small local church. We are just happy to take anyone at face value.