July 23, 2006

Sending and Going

Acts 13:1-5

They placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:3


There's a silent question in the minds of many church members when talk turns to missions. It could be framed in the words of a once-popular song: "Should I stay, or should I go?" While this question is legitimate, it may not be the first one to ask. It tends to focus only on the individual's role, and it assumes that either you go into missions or you stay and do something else.

While Paul and Barnabas may be called the first cross-cultural missionaries, they did not act alone. The Holy Spirit spoke first not to them but to the church. And we should see any missionary movement as the natural work of the entire church body.

Bill and Amy Stearns compare the different ministries of the church to the stages of a rocket. The launch engine is primary and is ignited by means of God blessing his people. The two middle sections compare to the church's work of blessing believers at home and blessing believers in different cultures. Finally, the cone section represents the objective of God's people blessing lost souls in other cultures--and it's all powered by God.

Through each of these important ministries God strengthens his people so that the church may reach out. One ministry is not more important than another. Each part contributes to propel the church along its God-given trajectory into the lost world.

Dear Lord, guide your church toward your goals for it. May we continue to work with you, in all our varied roles, until all the nations are gathered in. For Jesus' sake, Amen.

About the author — Tim Holwerda

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