Every church mobilizing for missions
The call to go means even more than just mobilizing churches for missions. Each Alabama Baptist church will be encouraged to take a risk and go to the next level of mission involvement. In Acts 1:8, we are instructed to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Going includes reaching out to the difficult areas.
For some, the difficult area is reaching out to our own neighborhoods. People who know us well are sometimes the most difficult to reach. Some people have trouble leaving home, traveling, or going to new places; they don’t want to leave the comfort of home. For others still, it is difficult to reach out to people—at home or abroad—that are different. They dress differently, speak languages we don’t understand, eat things we have never heard of…all these things make us uncomfortable.
But to be obedient, we are to go into all these places sharing God’s love and the Good News of Jesus Christ–from our neighborhoods, to the nations, and the nations in our neighborhoods.
There are many misconceptions about missions, but two are especially common:
1. Missions is perceived as a super special assignment for extraordinary people. Nothing could be farther from God’s purpose.
a. The Bible teaches that God’s method is to use the foolish, the weak, and the despised persons of the world to bring glory to him (1 Cor. 1:26-31).
b. God’s purpose is to be accomplished by ordinary people who believe in and serve an extraordinary God. Paul has been upheld as the ideal missionary for so long that many fail to realize that the spread of the gospel in the first century was accomplished primarily by people named Barnabas, Silas, Mark, Aquila, Epaphroditus, and a host of other Christians. God intends to use everyone–the Marks and the Epaphrodituses, as well as the Pauls–to accomplish his mission.
c. If we are to carry out God’s mission during our lifetime, we must erase from our minds the idea that only unusually gifted persons are missionaries. Such thinking discourages one from identifying himself with missions unless he thinks he has an extraordinary gift and calling.
2. A second misconception is that world missions can be done by proxy. Some think missionaries are their substitutes in world evangelization.
a. They are satisfied to pray for missionaries, to support them, and to encourage them. All these things should be done, but doing them does not relieve each Christian of his responsibility to be involved directly in God’s mission.
b. Missions by proxy is the standard operating procedure in many churches. Some leave missions to the Woman’s Missionary Union and expect the women to be responsible for the church’s involvement in missions. At other times the Home Mission Board and the Foreign Mission Board are expected to take full responsibility for fulfilling the mandate that God gave to all his people.
c. Some Christians interpret their giving as paying their part of missions gifts and thereby discharging their obligations to evangelize the world.
d. Missionaries, mission agencies, and mission boards are practical expressions of concern by Christians and local churches, but these alone cannot fulfill the obligation God has given to every Christian and to every church. Not everyone can be a missionary, but everyone can be on mission for God.”
–Taken from Biblical Basis for Missions by Avery Willis.