Missions is too important to be left just to missionaries!

Missions is too important to be left just to missionaries!

God is on a mission.  His mission is to bring people from every place and every culture into relationship with himself.  So, God’s mission is global, and all of us have a place in it.  Do you know what your place is? 

The gospel hasn't changed for 2000 years, but the world to which Christ sends us has... It's time for a new kind of missionary!

From the beginning, God wanted to fill the earth with worship and worshippers.  That was his plan.  It’s still his plan.  And yet today there are more than two billion people who will never hear the good news that their Creator loves them and wants to give them peace and life everlasting, not because they aren’t interested.  It’s simply because there of their global zip code, the place where they were born.

What a tragedy!  Doesn’t God have a plan for these two billion people?  Well… yes.  Actually he does.  His plan is for you and I and all of those who know him and follow him to be his hands, feet and voice to bring his Good News to those who haven’t heard.  That’s his plan.  He’s on a mission and his plan is that all of his followers have a part in it.

Historically, there are some people who have crossed national borders, and cultural barriers and ethnic lines to bring the Good News of Jesus to the places where there are few or no churches and believers.  These people are called missionaries.  Because crossing international borders requires learning language and culture, being a missionary is a full-time thing.  Compelled by Christ, missionaries were those who left their own cultures to bring the gospel in word and deed.  

Fast forward to today, and our understanding of God’s mission has become a binary thing, with most of us believing there are basically just two ways to be involved in God’s mission.  We could either become a missionary, which of course most of us would never do because, you know, bugs.  And living in the jungle.  And what about watching our favorite football team every Sunday.  And…

So if we aren’t going to be a missionary, then the option in front of us was to give money to the church so they could help the missionaries do the work of God’s mission.  The missionaries ended up being viewed with a super spiritual mystique, with all of us consciously or sub consciously assuming that missionaries had near perfect spiritual lives, never having fights with their spouses, or struggling with lust and never, ever tempted to cheat on their taxes.  But that is another blog post.  (Literally… stay tuned).

Through this dichotomy, the implicit result was that missionaries were the ones who did the work of God’s mission, and the rest of us lived normal lives, occasionally reminded in a sermon to be sacrificial and prayerful for them, but largely we go about trying to be good and healthy, raise our kids to be polite and nice, and to be examples to our neighbors who didn’t seem that into church things judging by how late they slept in on Sundays.

But what if it was never meant to be this way?  What if all of us have a crucial, important role to play in God’s global mission?  I’m not suggesting that everyone should move to Africa, but I am saying that all Christians should see God’s mission as a defining part of who they are and how they spend their time and money and prayers. 

When Jesus gave the great commission to his followers, why did we decide it was only for cross-cultural and professionals.

Paul Van Der Werf

Paul Van Der Werf is the founder and executive director of GoCorps. Paul spent four years after college living overseas and serving through a Dutch NGO doing ministry in Amsterdam’s Red Light District and doing community development and ministry among overlooked communities in Mexico along the Texas border. His firm belief is that God’s mission is too important to be left just to the missionaries, and so he’s made it his life’s work to help ordinary Christians find their place in God’s global work.