PLEASE NOTE: This blog is as a result of a class that I am currently taking. I would appreciate comments, negative or positive, because I will be using the feedback in my class. THANK YOU!
When we think of missions, we often think of the missionary who lives, works and ministers to people in a foreign country. We think of someone who leaves home, often faraway from home, to give his or her all for the cause of the gospel. In recent years, the term mission has come to mean purpose and is sometimes used even in business as owners and entrepreneurs seek a mission statement for their businesses, but I believe that missions is much more than either of these definitions. I believe that missions is our call as believers in Jesus Christ.
A quote from my class textbook, “Introduction To Assemblies of God Missions”, says, “Following Christ to reach all people is at the heart of discipleship and obedience to His command.” (Unit 1 pg. 13)
The very heart of missions is God’s creation. Missions begins and ends with God. He is the one who first reached out to us and He will be the One who leads us on to an eternity spent in His presence. A verse that is often quoted and well-know by most believers is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” He initiated the reaching by reaching down to us. Missionary comes from the Latin verb which means to send. God reached down to us by sending His Son, Jesus and Jesus sends us.
In John 20:21 it says, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
A missionary then, is one who is sent, a bearer of good news and representative of Jesus Christ.
Why did God initiate missions? Why did He send His Son? Why did Jesus send us?
Again, a quote from my textbook sums it up, “From the first to the last, the Bible reveals God as the great lover of humankind, the Redeemer, the Savior…. God seeks to shepherd the people of His creation into an intimate relationship with Himself that they might enjoy the fullness of His presence with them.” (Introduction to Assemblies of God Missions, Unit 1 pg. 15) God sent Jesus because He loves us and desires relationship with us. He sent Jesus to redeem us, to rescue us from sin and restore our relationship with the God who created us. And Jesus sends us to tell others the good news so that they too can be a part of God’s family – redeemed, rescued and forever in relationship with Him.
The central purpose of mission then is to “win people to Christ and help disciple them to do the same.” (Introduction to Assemblies of God Missions, Unit 1 pg. 16)
Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was to save and serve. When we enter into relationship with Jesus, we also enter into His mission, His purpose. As believers, we are working together to evangelize the world. Like Jesus, we can use our God-given talents, abilities and resources to serve others and point them to Christ. We are not merely living for ourselves, but we are living with a higher purpose; a higher calling. We have a mission and that mission is to live for Christ and to live with eternity in mind.
What then, motivates us to live as “missionaries” to our world? First, we should be motivated out of our love for God. He gave us so much and He loves us so deeply. He gave His Son for us before we even began to acknowledge Him. Another motivating factor is that Jesus commanded it. Jesus told His disciples, “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.” Missions is also birthed out of a compassion for others.
“The realization of the greatness and goodness of God carries with it the urgent desire for other to experience His blessing in their lives.” (Introduction to Assemblies of God Missions, Unit 1 pg. 20)
We can find the motivation for missions out of God’s great love for us and then the love that He places in our hearts for others. He places His love in our hearts to share.
Today, many people consider it their mission to help others; to provide for their needs and serve in some way. There are many humanitarian organizations who help to feel, clothe, provide business training, homes and many other things for people in need. These endeavors are good and worthwhile. We should be serving others. Jesus served when He was on earth, but serving others is only the beginning of our mission as believers. We serve, but we also are called to lead people into a relationship with Christ. Serving betters someone’s life for the here and now, but leading people into relationship with Jesus, changes their lives forever. When people enter into relationship with Jesus, they begin to understand that He is trustworthy. They can commit their lives to Him and believe in Him because He truly loves them. He wants their highest good now and forever.
There is a lot more to say on missions … perhaps that is food for another blog. Right now, I think I will end this with a few of questions, “What is your mission? How are you carrying it out? Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Are you carrying out His mission?” If you had trouble answering these questions – I know I did – then maybe it’s time to spend some time in prayer. Ask God how He wants you to carry out His mission. Who can you serve and who can you tell about God’s amazing love? You know you are called and you are sent. You have a mission!