CairoEgypt-01267-6362-14.jpg
Spain-0385-19.jpg
Bangladesh-03364JLY766.jpg
India-6063-22.jpg
Niger-7902-23.jpg
group.jpg
CairoEgypt-01267-6362-14.jpg

The Study of God's Mission


God is redeeming creation back to Himself. All of His people have a place in this mission, but many struggle to find where they fit into it. Let's discuss a few of the key ideas that help us understand the mission of God.  

SCROLL DOWN

The Study of God's Mission


God is redeeming creation back to Himself. All of His people have a place in this mission, but many struggle to find where they fit into it. Let's discuss a few of the key ideas that help us understand the mission of God.  

The streets of Argentina Photo provided by IMB

The Mission of God

In the beginning, God created mankind in His image. He created us to worship Him, but we chose instead to worship lesser, created things.

The mission of God is to redeem creation back to Himself. 

Spain-0385-19.jpg

Missions


Because God has a mission, His people have a mission

SCROLL DOWN

Missions


Because God has a mission, His people have a mission

MISSIO DEI

THE MISSION OF GOD

At its essence, mission is the movement of God. We have only known God as one who goes. Though He is One, He exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. These three move in perfect harmony as God draws creation back to Himself. The mission of God is to restore everything to its original intended purpose and place: worship of the Most High. 

GOD SENDS

TO DO HIS WILL

Throughout history, we see that we have a God who is not far away, as many might conclude, but who comes near to us and interacts with us. Through the generations of God's interaction with humans, one pattern persists: God sends His people to accomplish his purposes. The only right response to God, who sends, is joyful and wholehearted obedience. 

WE ARE SENT

WE MUST GO

As citizens of God's heavenly kingdom, we are outsiders on this earth. Yet we are bound to live within the context of human culture. God sends all of His people to be His ambassadors among the peoples of the earth. As missionaries, we constantly struggle with how to live out the unchanging, universal gospel in an ever-changing, sin-filled culture. 

God wants to be worshipped by all people Photo by IMB

Without Jesus, people are without hope  Photo by IMB

Bangladesh-03364JLY766.jpg

Gospel


SCROLL DOWN

Gospel


The Gospel

The word "gospel" means "Good News" of Jesus.

The Most High God created humanity to worship Him. Humans chose instead to worship lesser things, which seperated them from God, leaving them spiritually dead and without hope. In his mercy, God provided a way for humans to be restored to His original design. He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life on earth, die a torturous death in our place, and come back to life in a supernatural demonstration of his power and love. Those who orient their lives around Jesus are brought back into a right relationship with God, who then sends us into the world on His mission of redemption.

This is the gospel. 

India-6063-22.jpg

Culture


All people think, act, and learn within the construct of their culture

SCROLL DOWN

Culture


All people think, act, and learn within the construct of their culture

A Kenyan boy at a tribal celebration  Photo by IMB

Culture is the product of a society living according to their worldview. It includes values, social structures, and creative expressions. Everyone has a culture, but many people identify primarily with a sub-set of the culture in which they find themselves. 

In Genesis 11 and Revelation 7, we see that God values a diversity of human cultures. He loves to be worshipped in multiple languages and and through the art, work, and festivities of the different peoples of the earth.   

Some cultures are very similar to one another. Their shared language and geographic proximity have resulted in the Colombian and Venezuelan cultures having much in common. The cultures of Colombia and, say, Cambodia, on the other hand, are very different from one another. This is called "cultural distance." When people are culturally distant, there are many barriers that much be overcome in order for people of one culture to influence the people of a distant culture. 

Niger-7902-23.jpg

Church


God's people, organized and empowered for God's mission

SCROLL DOWN

Church


God's people, organized and empowered for God's mission

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.

We sometimes distinguish between a church (a local body of believers who share some level of fellowship) and The Church (the universal collection of God's people everywhere). 

Contextualization


SCROLL DOWN

Contextualization


Contextualization means taking the universal, unchanging gospel of Christ and translating it into an ever-changing, sin-filled culture. On one side of this equation, contextualization requires that we know and obey the Scriptures lest we lose the truth of our message in transaltion. On the other hand, we must also be students of culture who can "know the times" and discern how best to proclaim the good news in a way that makes sense to the people to whom we've been sent.

Contextualization is neither safe nor easy. In an attempt to share the gospel in culture, some have gone too far; using language and methodology so familiar to the culture that it isn't discernible as being meaningfully different from what was already there (the theological term for this extreme is syncretism). Others take things too far in the other direction and fail to contextualize enough. This leads to an obscured message that requires the listener to leave his culture to hear the gospel at all. 

Despite the dangers and difficulties of contextualization, we have no choice but to commit to it. As the good news came to us, so it must also go through us. In order to make disciples– in order to be disciples– we must constantly wrestle with how the gospel respects, rejects, and redeems our cultures.

group.jpg

Segmentation


Social groupings provide our sense of identity and help us process the world around us

SCROLL DOWN

Segmentation


Social groupings provide our sense of identity and help us process the world around us

Segmentation is the missionary skill of discerning the basic social unit among a people along which the gospel will spread before it meets significant cultural barriers. These barriers are usually things like language, geography, culture, or religion. But there are many other factors that affect the transmission of the gospel. Political divisions, for example, can make it extremely difficult for one group to receive with good will any messenger from an opposing group. Social class can be deeply divisive, as can economic status, tribal affiliation, or racial prejudice. In urban centers, subcultural differences become increasingly isolating as people divide themselves into affinity, professional, and even virtual groups. 

Of course, what seem like major barriers to the spread of the gospel are no obstacle for God. As he demonstrated in Acts 2, language can be overcome by His people on mission. In John 4, we see Jesus reaching across ethnic lines to proclaim Himself as the living water for Samaritans as well as the Jews. Paul took different approaches to sharing the gospel with tentmakers in the marketplace than he did with the philosophers in the forums. Peter had to be commanded in a vision to broaden his evangelism to include both Jews and gentiles. Throughout the book of Acts, we read not only of individuals coming to faith in Jesus, but also of entire households repenting and being baptized. 

In every case, overcoming barriers is the work of God's sent people. The gospel meets us where we are, and we are discipled out of our preferences into God's mission. It isn't enough to enter a city and preach the gospel; we must identify the groups and work to make disciples across the social divides. 

.footer-wrapper a, .footer-wrapper a:visited { text-decoration: none; }