Trusted missiologist Ed Stetzer and coauthor and pastor Philip Nation bring missional thinking to everyday believers in their book Compelled by Love. The 2008–2009 emphasis book for WMU®, Compelled by Love is a basic theology-and-application platform to help believers understand what missional living is all about—that is, our calling to love others.
“I think people often misunderstand what love is and what love does,” stated Stetzer, author and director of Research at LifeWay Christian Resources. “The love of Christ compels us to be, do, and tell the good news.”
As believers are characterized by God’s presence and experience a transformation, God empowers them to be on His mission. But what does true missional love look like and how do believers display this love in their everyday lives and neighborhoods? Compelled by Love answers those questions as it paints the picture of love as an idea, ideal, and theology.
Compelled by Love looks at this compelling love within three contexts: God, the church, and individuals. God’s searching, dying, and indwelling love must be understood. What it means for the church to be identified by love—its foundation, its Commission, and its direction—is examined. Lastly, what it means for individual believers to be newly formed by their understanding of love through obedience, direction, separation, and service is shared.
Nation, Stetzer’s friend and coauthor, adds, “Most of the books regarding missional ministry are concerned with methods. Compelled by Love uncovers the heart of the ministry. We hope to reveal the why and thus propel missional ministry throughout the church.”
“A few years ago, I came to understand that love is the central discipline of the Christian life,” Nation adds. “The main theme encompasses the need for the church and the individual believer to seek out the lost due to the great love of God.”
According to Stetzer, people can’t love Jesus and not live differently day by day.
“It is all about love,” stated Stetzer. ”Because of God’s love, He sent Jesus. Because of Jesus’s love, He died. And, because of His death, He compels us by His love.”
The authors are hopeful that readers will begin applying love more widely within all of their relationships.
“That is what we want believers to do,” stated Andrea Mullins, publisher, New Hope Publishers. “We want believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. I approached Ed about writing this book because I knew he understood the magnitude of what could happen if today’s believers were to grasp an understanding of the expanse and depth of God’s love; the Commission of the church; and the loving, willing acts of submission that follow.”
Written in a warm conversational tone, the compelling and transforming power of God’s love will be evident to the average reader. Through thought-provoking discussion questions at the end of each chapter, the authors challenge readers to grasp the power of love and to act in obedience, to be submissive to the Father’s will, to incorporate holiness and spiritual disciplines into their lives, to live as those with a passion for the lost, and to have pure motives in ministry.
“Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation lay bare their heart and soul about God’s love and its transforming effect in our lives,” said Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God. “With Christ living in us, His love will involve us on mission with Him in redeeming a lost world. Compelled by Love is a much-needed overview for how God’s love compels us to love as He is loving in our world.”
The book is structured to allow for individual or group use. Written primarily in first person, each chapter follows a basic pattern and includes illustrations, basic theology, understandable principles of missiology, and ideas for personal application. It beckons for a community aiding one another to integrate love into all aspects of our missional calling.
“As Christians, we know that the church is called to live in and for the mission of God,” stated Thom Rainer, author of Simple Church. “Yet, we also know that many watch from the sidelines rather than responding to God’s call. With biblical clarity, bold challenges, and a good amount of wit, Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation give reasons and ways that will help you and your church respond to the call of Jesus. Compelled by Love is a great read for those needing encouragement and direction for engaging in God’s work in the world.”