What “Missions” Is And How Central The Local Church Should Be To It
Unit 2: Issue 2 – Project 1
What “Missions” Are
– Acts 1:8
When the Great Commission was given by Jesus to the apostles it was the first instance in the book of Acts where they had received direction from God. He said to wait on the Holy Spirit to empower you, and then witness all the way to the ends of the earth. This command was not only given to the apostles, but handed down from generation to generation, even to us. This command has lasted centuries and needs to continue being the focus of each and every Christian journey. We all have something to contribute to the advancement of the Kingdom of God which resides inside of us. Some are good at drawing a crowd, some at developing meaningful relationships; some at directing and leading, some at serving and protecting. The gospel is at the core of missions and drives us to live missionally. But living missionally in our own back yard isn’t enough. Missions abroad, expansion, whether long distances or short, were vital to the growth and expansion of the first century church. They also continue to be today, where the doors on one church close, the doors on another must open. Where the gospel is unheard of, it needs to be taught and proclaimed.
What Missions Are Not
If the gospel is shared in an area where there are no teachers or stewards to continue the work that has begun in someone’s heart, that does not expand the Kingdom. All that does is leave someone with more questions than when that work first began. If a service on behalf of Christ is performed, yet nothing is left behind except a remnant of a half-done effort to share the gospel, more questions, or even more bitterness toward Christ can be left than encouragement, faith, love, and other fruits of the Spirit. The point is to plant churches. The point is to build fellowship in Christ where it doesn’t yet exist. Most importantly, without the Holy Spirit none of it is possible. The Holy Spirit changes hearts, the Holy Spirit ministers to the minds and hearts of man, the Holy Spirit calls us to put in work where He has started it. The Holy Spirit builds up fellowship in Christ and is who we wait for to be empowered by to do His work.
The Role of the Local Church
The role of the church is simple. Plant seeds; either seeds that turn into flourishing faith-filled hopeful Christians, or churches full of flourishing faith-filled hopeful people. Without the church actively participating in this role, missions in essence don’t happen.
The Role of the Local Church in Missions
Without the church involved with missions all there is left are individuals planting seeds that whither up and die. Individuals can live missionally all they want, but apart from the church it is impossible to effectively minister to and develop Christians with a missions mindset on a recurring basis. Eventually we all hit a brick wall. With the church there is somewhere healthy to plug people into; for them to develop relationships with and glean Christ with different perspectives from. Without the church, no matter in long distances or short, we have nowhere for new believers to grow in Christ. God is so much more diverse than any one person and to say that they can learn all the ways of Christ from a single missionary is ludicrous. We glean many things of Christ from many different people and grow all the more healthy. God intended for missions to be a joint effort with the church as one body working together with itself.
So in local missions, the missionaries local home church is there to strengthen, edify, exhort, and help innovate that missionary in Christ, as well as his/her disciples. In short or long distance missions, the missionary has a local church to that location in which to work from. If there is no church local to a mission field, than a church plant is in order. Church and missions cannot exist without each other if the Great Commission is to be the focus.