The face of missions is changing. It has to. If all we were doing was the sum total of all God wanted done, the job would be finished and we’d be at a wedding feast.
Missions has become “professionalized”. I know. I’ve been and still am a missionary professionally. And that isn’t changing. But the problem with professionalizing anything is it can take what once was considered the calling of all and relegate it to a relative few, the experts with the degrees. For brain surgeons, professionalization is fabulous. But for missionaries, not so much.
Professional missionaries alone will NEVER get the job done of reaching the world. It doesn’t matter how trained or smart or even anointed we are. God never intended missions, or ministry for that matter, to be left to a handful of experts.
If you love Jesus, YOU are a missionary every bit as much as I am.
The issue isn’t IF you are missionary, it is WHERE you are a missionary. And that location can change seasonally as you follow Jesus.
One of the many things I miss about working in South Sudan was that my kids got it. They believed they were just as much a missionary as any of us. And they were right. They might have been even a little bit more passionate than some of us. We adults had to break up fights about who was going to get to go pray for the sick at the hospital.
The harvest field isn’t going to uproot itself en masse and walk into our meeting places of worship. That’s why in Africa we loaded a flat bed truck with speakers and music and our kids and leaders and went into the literal markets of village areas. In the midst of tarps teetering on sticks and ropes, we prayed for the sick and shared the love of Jesus in ways those who gathered could relate to and understand.
Missions here in the west is NO different. Missions is about taking the reality of Jesus we know from our meeting place with Him OUT into our marketplaces. Missions is a bridge from the meeting place to the marketplace all of us who love Jesus are called to cross every single day.
Missions isn’t about invasion. We don’t go to rule over culture or take over the market. Missions is about incarnation, where the very reality of Jesus made real in us, then through us, draws those with hearts open to receive. We show up… filled up (with Jesus) ready to be spilled out (as His love-offerings on the world around us).
So what skill, idea, business, vocation, training has God put in your hand, that when stewarded with wisdom and excellence, might open doors to genuinely serve your community as Jesus Himself is made real in you?
THAT, beloved IS the essence of missions.
The harvest will only be fully reached when the church as a whole, both in the USA and abroad, is empowered to lay hold of the truth: Missions has a new face today… yours.