Mission-al?

It’s confession time.  At Granada we’ve taken pride for years in the number of missionaries we support.  Our missionaries are devoted women and men serving in places as far flung as southeast Asia, Latin America, and also right here in Miami.  Some serve at the risk of their lives planting churches, translating scripture into new languages, or providing desperately needed medical care. We also send teams from our church to serve short-term in places like Cuba, Peru, the Bahamas, and Haiti.

Now these are wonderful things to do, but if this is what we think of when we think of missions, we’ve missed the point.  Missions is not something a few people do for Jesus out there; it is something every Christian is called to be part of wherever they are.  The problem is that we can feel pretty good about the money we give and the trips we take but miss the calling that Jesus has given his followers.

Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin discovered this truth a few decades ago.  Before WWII, a British congregation sent him as a missionary to India. This was the way his church did missions—sending people to share the gospel somewhere else.  When he arrived in India, he was astounded by the needs of his new community.  People were living in need and had not heard the gospel.  He realized that the church in India didn’t do missions.  It was a mission.

 

Many years later when he returned home to Britain, Newbigin realized that the community where his home church was had changed.  There were few Christians and the needs were overwhelming.  It felt much like the neighborhood when he first arrived in India. But to his surprise, he found that his church was doing missions the way they always had—as something done out there.  It was then Newbigin realized that every church had to become a mission, to be missional, as he explained it.

Over the years while Granada has supported missionaries “out there,” Miami has become one of the most significant and exciting mission fields in the world.  Of course, this calls for a radical change in our thinking.  What God has been showing us is that we are not to be a church that does missions, but we are called to be a mission.

The implications of seeing this are extensive. First, it means that you are a missionary.  Jesus gave this role to everyone who follows him, not just a few who go “out there” to serve.  Second, it means the mission field is right here, where you live and work and go to school.  We are surrounded by a vast sea of needs and broken people hungry for grace and in need of the love of Jesus.  Third, it means that whatever we do here at Granada and also in our individual lives is meant by Jesus to be part of his mission to bring grace to the world.

Okay.  That’s academic; I promised confession.  Here’s the confession.  I think I like the missions-as-something-we-do-out-there concept because it gets me off the hook.  Somebody else does that, not me.  Here’s where Jesus challenges me.  When I come to him, I find that he goes deeper.  He wants me to belong to him, for my life to be his.  So missions isn’t something others do.  It’s not even something I do.  It is about who I am.  I am his.  This is why all followers of Jesus become disciples and why all disciples share the mission.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Great post Worth.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sandy on February 1, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Awesome. I so need to live like this.

    Reply

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