Wednesday, April 29, 2009


What is a mission? In an organizational plan, it is the statement or understanding by which it operates. Every facet of conduct and activity is expected to reflect the mission. This makes sense when carried over to the church. We must be about the business of the mission.

What is the mission? This is more difficult to answer. Organizations typically follow the mission of the primary instigator (in a good sense) of the company, usually the founder(s). Someone must make known the mission and convey it in clear, simple terms that are easy to pass on to others. What, then, is the church's mission? Here one would get multiple responses centered around Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 2:42. I agree, but there seems to be a missing element of unity.

Consider for a moment the concept of missions. These are generally organized and planned in such a way that individuals or families go into full-time work overseas or stateside. The mentality is them (missionaries) and us (regular folk). It happens for the pastorate as well.

The scriptural understanding is quite different. Consider Eve. She had heard YHWH tell the serpent that the seed of the woman would bruise his head (Genesis 3:15). There was a promise to deal wth sin, and it would be through the elect: Adam and Eve. Through them, the promise of redemption would go forth. When Cain was born, Eve was certain Cain was the promised redeemer (acting as to her understanding of the mission) by saying at his birth, "I have gotten a man, the Lord" (Genesis 4:1). Most Bibles translate it as "by the Lord" or "with help from the Lord" or some such. These are incorrect. The grammar for "the Lord" at the end of 4:1 is a direct object, not a prepositional phrase. Eve must surely have been disappointed when Cain did not show himself to be that one.

Consider Abraham. In Genesis 12, YHWH said to him, "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Notice it is not to one family, Abraham's, but to all families. All everywhere are to be blessed with no stipulation that this was solely for the future. There was nothing to indicate that Abraham would not be a blessing beginning right away. He and his family were a blessing and needed to live and act accordingly. The whole unit was to do this work.

Consider the nation of Israel. In Psalms and Isaiah, the call is repeated that Israel would demonstrate the greatness of God to the nations of the world and be a light to the Gentiles. This is because God's intention was that they be a kingdom of priests (or kings and priests--Exodus 19). As a unit, Israel was to display the glories of God and show forth who he is and what he has done.

Coming back to the church, then, do we give up sending missionaries? No, rather all believers need to realize that each person and family is a missionary and act accordingly. There is to be a united work in the local and universal church to spread the good news of the kingdom and teach others the right way that they might walk in it and be built up in Christ.