What we believe about Global Mission (July 2013)

We believe God is the author of mission.

Mission is about “being sent.” It is not something the Church initiates, but what God does by his Spirit in the world and through his people (Acts 1:4-8; 11:12-18). He is the God of mission who has always been at work revealing himself in the world (Romans 1:19; Acts 17:24-27).

From the calling of Abram and his descendants to be a blessing to the nations, God chooses people through whom he blesses others (Genesis 12:3b). All of Scripture declares God’s heart for the nations (Exodus 9:16; Isaiah 49:6; Malachi 1:11; Matthew 24:14; John 3:16-17; Romans 15:8-12).

We believe the Church responds to God’s mission both locally and globally.

Jesus commanded his followers to “…make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). He further amplified that agenda by adding that the Spirit would empower them for a world-wide witness (Acts 1:8). The Church was birthed at Jerusalem (Acts 2) but soon spread to Judea (Acts 8:1; 9:31), Samaria (Acts 8:4-25) and the ends of the earth (Romans 1:5-8; 15:17-20). The Church is called to address these geographical and cultural challenges—Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth—simultaneously, not sequentially.[i]

God empowered the early disciples so that they could effectively serve as witnesses of Christ’s resurrection with a message that “…repentance and forgiveness of sins…” would be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-49). We are called to be “on mission” wherever we are as his representatives of the kingdom with a message of Good News (John 3:16). Jesus said his followers were to be the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). We witness for Christ by our words and actions as evidence of the indwelling Christ living and working through us (Philippians 2:15).

We believe every Christian and every church in every nation is called to participate in the task of making disciples.

All the people of God—regardless of our spiritual maturity or our ministry roles—have the responsibility to be Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are sent into the world with the same mandate expressed by Jesus, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Amazingly, despite our obvious limitations, God has chosen to work through the church—which is made for mission. Paul writes that through Jesus, we (the church) “…have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Romans 1:5). The Holy Spirit is the church’s enabling power to be his witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). The mission of the church is to actively participate as God’s people in what the Holy Spirit is doing in the world for the redemption of his creation, which includes providing the opportunity for everyone to confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Romans 10:8-17).

We believe our ministries express the church’s participation in the mission of God.                                                   

God is concerned with every human need (Isaiah 58:5-7; Amos 5:21-24; Matthew 25:31-45; James 1:27; 2:14-17; I John 3:17-18). At the outset of his ministry, Jesus declared the extent of his concern (Luke 4:18-19).

God expands His mission through a variety of measures, such as proclamation of God’s word (Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 11:19-24; 13); compassionate ministries (Acts 5:12-16; 9:32-43); gifts of leadership and service (Acts 6:1-7); obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:26-39; 10:17-48: 16:6-10); prayer (Acts 1:12-14; 4:23-31; Colossians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2); sending and supporting of missionaries (Acts 13:1-4; 3 John 5-8); and  planting new churches (Acts 14:21-23; 18:8-11).

We believe the ultimate goal of the Church’s purpose is to glorify God.

From a human standpoint, local evangelism and global outreach are often motivated by a love for people who are not yet Christ’s followers. To enter eternity without Christ is to miss heaven. But from a God-centered perspective, a higher motivation for missions is to see more glory given to God (Romans 15:8-9).

Jesus understood that he would be sacrificed on a cross—not just for the sake of lost humankind, but for the sake of God’s glory. He prayed at Gethsemane “…it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28). Revelation paints a picture of a great multitude of worshippers representing every nation, tribe, people and language gathered around the throne of God praising Him for salvation (Revelation 7:9-10). At that point, both his mission and ours come to an end.

[i] Sequentially – consecutively; one after another.