I nearly gave up on mission. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was crazy for missions. I would evangelize on the street corners of my home town. I would jump at any chance to take a trip somewhere in the world to share the gospel. I thought I had found my life’s calling. That was until at 24 years old, God told me, “I want you to stay home for a while,” meaning serve in the local church rather than out “on the field” somewhere. That was 18 years ago. I was happy to obey and continued to have a deep passion for missions. But, somewhere along the line, my passion faded, my vision narrowed, and dare I say, my heart hardened.
Over the last few years I have realized that my view of mission was too small. I had believed that mission was something that God had assigned for the church to do along with other things like teaching, worship, prayer, etc. My main view of mission was “getting people into church.” I didn’t realize until lately that mission is something that God is up to and is bigger than the church. The church gets to participate in the mission of God, which is reconciling the world to God through Christ.
When mission is viewed as something the church does, then the church dictates the strategy, the outcome, and the goal, which generally means filling seats on Sunday morning. If mission is viewed as something God does, then it is something beyond the church. God is then given the freedom to accomplish it on God’s terms, with the strategy, outcome, and goal finding its fulfillment in the reconciliation of the world.
What this means to me on a practical note is that mission can happen anywhere, any time, with anyone who loves God by loving others. This takes mission to a whole new level with ever expanding horizons. I am excited about mission again!
Grace and peace,