by Lauren N., Director of Great Commission Ministry
When you hear the word “missions”, what do you think of? Maybe you think of a summer mission trip you went on, or of someone you know who is currently serving overseas as a missionary.
Those things give us a glimpse into missions, but the Bible shows us something far greater. Missions is not merely found in a section of Scripture, but is woven into Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Several years ago, God used a class that I took to open my eyes to see this. What I began to see is that missions is central to God’s heart and it should be central to each of ours.
John Piper says, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. The glory of God is the ultimate goal of the church-because it’s the ultimate goal of God.” Missions should be centered on God’s glory. God intends for His name to be known and worshiped. And the very purpose of missions is for God’s glory to be spread among all people. Piper says, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” God is not being worshiped by all people in all places, and therefore is not being worshiped as He should be. God’s glory is spread by us living for Christ and sharing the gospel with other people. As disciples of Christ are made, worshipers are made.
Missions is not just for a few to care about, nor is it to be compartmentalized to the occasional Sunday service throughout the year. Instead, missions should be central to everything we do as Christ followers. God has appointed each of us to make disciples, which includes the people right around us. However, we can’t (and shouldn’t) just stop at reaching those who are in our immediate context. The Great Commission is clear that we are to “go and make disciples of all nations.” So what does the reality of this look like?
As David Platt says in “Mission Precision,” every follower of Christ is a “sent one.” Each of us is “sent out” on mission wherever we live. However, Platt goes on to explain that some people will cross cultural, geographic, and language barriers to take the gospel to places where it is not. We see this in Acts 13 when Paul and Barnabas were sent out to spread the gospel in places where it had not been taken. However, God also used churches (and individuals making up those churches) to support the spread of the gospel by praying, giving, and supporting Paul throughout his missionary journeys. Both going and supporting are vital and equally used by God to spread the Gospel to the nations!
The hope is that, in gaining a right understanding of what it is, missions will weave itself into how we live our lives. We gain a global perspective and it allows us to see the bigger story that God is writing, not just in our immediate surroundings, but around the world. It reminds us that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. God is drawing people in all parts of the world to Himself, and we have the privilege of getting to play a part in that.
Let’s begin by praying. Learn about the ways that God is moving around the world. Engage in what God is doing right around you, but don’t let it end there. Willfully and joyfully submit your one life to God, asking that He would use your life to aid in the spread of the Gospel among the nations.