“Shut down your missions department”
At a recent conference, a pastor made the above declaration. A radical statement for sure. Why would you close this most common department in a church? Would you then quit funding your missionaries and stop sending mission teams overseas? Why would you do this?
The point that he was trying to make was that missions is not a function of the church- it is the function of the church. For far too long churches have looked at missions as merely a part of what a healthy church does. I submit however, with this pastor, that missions needs to be included in every part of a church. Missions must be in the DNA of the church- the actual fabric that makes up a particular church.
Instead of supporting a few missionaries and mission efforts, the church must instill the missions attitude in every component of the church. Everyone at the church must be a missionary and discipleship efforts must focus on the development of the missional heart. What is the missional heart?
The missional heart understands the true depth of the gift of Jesus and the amazing love that the Father has for us. This love burns in our hearts and compels us to share this gift with others. The overflow of the Holy Spirit spills out with our ability to minister to others as our heart aches for their condition and the world’s superficial solutions to the challenges of life and our ultimate purpose here on Earth. The missional church equips all believers to be Christ’s messengers and carry the Good News to everyone- not just the third world or the poor. Missions must define all functions of the church. Churches must shift the focus of personal discipleship to missional discipleship- equipping the believer to take every advantage to share their faith with others instead of keeping it bottled up inside of them. This is an outward focus instead of an inward focus. Missions is not a “calling” for a select few radical believers. Missions is the manifestation of everything that it is to be a follower of Christ.
“The mission of the church is missions” Oswald J. Smith