Earlier this week I tweeted out a statement that can cause some to curl the nose and make others stand up and cheer. The statement is that missions is not a calling; its an issue of obedience. For those who would say that missions starts at home, this idea poses a threat to their well entrenched thinking. For those who believe the Great Commission is the church’s mission, then this idea provides great hope.
Let me be clear about defining mission first. Missions is the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom to places it has not be proclaimed and evidenced through he establishment of disciples who form into a church out of the domains of society. Missions is NOT local evangelism. In other words, don’t call a trip to the inner city to do relief work “missions”. That also cheapens the task.
It’s clear what I think. But does this idea have biblical roots? Of course. When Jesus gave us the Great Commission he was not just speaking to the audience gathered at his ascension. Jesus was speaking to the whole church. How do we know? We know because Jesus assures them in Acts 1:8 of the surety of the mission when he tells them they “will be his witnesses” to the utter most parts of the earth. We know Jesus gave this mission to the whole church because the book of Acts records the whole church participating in this Great Commission. It’s clear what Jesus’ intention is.
Jesus’ intention produces such statements as “You either go or send or disobey”, by men Like John Piper. Jesus’ intention also produces books like “Glocalization” by Bob Roberts Jr. Go get this book today! http://www.amazon.com/Glocalization-Followers-Jesus-Engage-World/dp/0310267188 Bob did not ask me to do that either. It’s just a vital read.
The bottom line is that if we make missions a “call” we can justify our failure to get more than our few dollars involved. If we can’t justify a failure to make the Great Commission our whole mission then we have to change our strategies.
The truth is that missions is an issue of obeying Jesus’ command and indigenously figuring out how to make sense of that command in the local church.
Just ask yourself the question that Bob Roberts Jr. asked himself, “What if the church was the missionary?” and start answering the question.