Nothing has resulted in the ineffectiveness of God’s Family being salt and light in the earth, as the misunderstanding of Biblical missions. I remember a story from an evangelist who went to speak at a Bible college assembly a few weeks after they had returned from a “short-term” foreign missions trip. They had a meal before the assembly he would speak at, so he ate with the students. He then moved from table to table to meet many students (about 100-150 students).
As he listened and interacted around the tables, it was obvious that the students were still very excited about the Missions trip. They recounted many of their experiences about praying for people, speaking the gospel, moving in Spiritual gifts, and helping the people experience the life of Jesus while on their trip.
The evangelist discerned something by the Spirit as he moved from table to table, entering into conversations. None of the students recounted any stories before or after the trip. He used this revelation of the Spirit when he got up to speak. He began his message by asking a few questions. “How many of you felt the joy of being used by God on your mission trip?” Many shouted “amen” along with a joyful applause. He continued, “How many spoke about Jesus to people on the trip?” They responded in a similar excited manner. Then a third question, “How many of you want to be used by God on a mission trip again?” The response was even more excited, with shouts of “yes” with clapping and standing to their feet.
The evangelist then paused for a long, awkward time before asking a final question, “How many of you did anything similar before you left or since you have been back home?” A hush fell over the assembly. The students were stunned! A couple of students reluctantly raised their hands halfway. After another long pause he went on to make the point of his message, “we are called to participate in God’s mission every day.”
This example highlights a misunderstanding about missions that robs God’s people of His motivation. I call it the “Missionary Mystique.” The word mystique means a special quality or air that makes somebody or something appear mysterious (special). The “Missionary Mystique” sees missions and missionaries as a few special/unusual people who go to faraway places to live in unique ways in real Kingdom missional work. The vast majority of Christians will never participate in such work. THIS IS A GREAT LIE THAT GOD WANT’S TO DESTROY!!!
Everyone Is Called to God’s Mission
In His last prayer on earth, Jesus prayed, “as I was sent into the earth, I have sent them” (John 17). After He rose from the dead He appeard to them and said it again, “As the Father has sent Me, I now send you” (John 20:21). This same call is upon all of us. Everyone is called, all the time to God’s mission of being “ambassadors for Christ appealing to everyone to be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
God’s design for Mission (being sent into the world) is EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. IT IS THE 1040 WINDOW, BUT ALSO “1040 WEST WINDOW AVENUE”, IN YOUR TOWN. IT IS BOTH ACROSS THE OCEAN AND ACROSS THE STREET. THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND THE END OF OUR BLOCK.
Rodney Stark, theologian and historian echoed God’s design for missions as he commented on the early church’s mission experience.
“The primary means of growth (in the early church) was through united and motivated efforts of the growing numbers of Christian believers, who invited their friends, relatives, and neighbors to share the “good news”… The movement began with perhaps no more than a thousand converts in the year 40; three centuries later more than half of the population of the empire (perhaps as many as 33 million people) had become Christians. THIS RESULT CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE WORK OF MISSIONARIES ONLY IF WE RECOGNIZE A UNIVERSAL MISISON ON THE PART OF ALL BELIEVERS.” – Rodney Stark
The great missionary and Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, upon whom the movie “Chariots of Fire” was based, spoke of this missionary call on every one of God’s people, “WE ARE ALL MISSIONARIES. WHEREVER WE GO, WE EITHER BRING PEOPLE NEARER TO CHRIST OR WE REPEL THEM FROM CHRIST.”
May we change our posture and recapture God’s motivation for missions every day of our lives.
From the time our feet hit the floor until the time we go back in bed we are on God’s Mission. When we get up and go to work, go to school, or go to the marketplace with are on a mission’s trip as ambassadors of Christ trying to demonstrate the Kingdom and see mankind reconciled to God.
- Colossians 4:2-6 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; (3) praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; (4) that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. (5) Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (6) Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.