It’s In a Word

Yesterday some from my organization discussed the book: “When Everything is Missions”, with the author Matthew Ellison.  Matt’s premise is that if we don’t understand definitions of words we will lack focus and effectiveness in our ministries.

Here are definitions from Matt’s book:

The Mission of God – “Missio Dei” encompasses all God does in the world to accomplish his objective, the complete exaltation of his name. (See Psalm 46:10).

Mission – a secular word meaning an intentional purpose, a campaign or effort towards an objective. Such as a military or diplomatic “mission”, or Paul’s mission journeys.

Missional – An adjective to describe or distinguish ministries focused on those outside of the four walls of the church, the ministry of the church to those outside of the church.  Distinctively different from ministries which are focused on existing church members.

Missions – Ministries focused on working across cultures, religious, ethnic, and geographic barriers to advance the work of making disciples of all “nations” defined as “people groups”. (See Romans 10:14, 15)  This is the ministry of those that are “sent”.

Here’s an illustrative example: 

We may be “seeker” sensitive by intentionally designing our Sunday service to be comfortable for the non-believer from our neighborhood who attends our church for the first time.  At the same time, our church may not have any programs focused on those far from God and very different from us spiritually or linguistically.  So we will feel good about our “missional” church (service), but have no church “missions” program.

As you examine your church what do you see? 

From Acts 1:8, it can be argued that every mature fellowship should have all aspects: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

God has given us a prophetic charge to go local, Jerusalem, and “to the ends of the earth”.  To those near and similar to us, and those far away and very different than us.

And the good news is he will accomplish his purposes!

This is Revelation 7:9.   “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

How has the Lord of the Harvest invited and gifted you to participate in Missio Dei?

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