I routinely encounter a number of recurring mission myths. They show up no matter the size of the group to which I am speaking. The myth I encounter most often involves GO and GOING.
Misunderstanding the Great Commission in Matthew 28 is partly responsible for the mission myth. The Commission recorded in Matthew begins, Go therefore and… But the imperative in the sentence isn’t GO; it’s MAKE DISCIPLES. We addressed that in the What is Evangelism series. But in church after church, for decade after decade, well-meaning church leaders have used GO! in messages and on posters to mobilize congregations. Make no mistake. Going is necessary and we should mobilize people to go. Jesus’ Commission in Matthew literally means, As you are going…make disciples. We cannot have a mission to reach others if someone is not going. That said, GOING isn’t the only thing that needs to be done.
When I speak to Bible study groups or morning worship congregations, I see people ‘check out’ when I am introduced as the Director of Evangelism from Mission: Hope. They already ‘know’ that all I want them to do is GO, and they already ‘know’ they can’t go anywhere at this time. The problem isn’t their current circumstances or their willingness to help. No one can GO every time there is an opportunity. The problem is their perception of the Great Commission is one dimensional. For this reason, I never start the discussion of mission involvement with GOING. I start somewhere else. The more I describe creative ways people can be meaningfully involved with a mission team, the more those same people ‘check back in’ as the discussion goes on.
I do eventually get to the need for people to volunteer and have a hands-0n role in the work. There are always teams scheduled to be out on a mission. Each team has people who can provide their own mission expenses. Each team has volunteers who have answered the call to GO and others (those who cannot GO) are contributing to help cover the costs. And that is ONE way, not the only way, someone can be a vital part of a mission team and not actually leave home.
Rest assured, there are more mission myths. They find their way into my speaking and writing. And that’s because I’m constantly trying to communicate the multitude of ways people can be involved in missions. Even though many people are helping our teams, there is always a need for someone else to join in. Want to help but can’t GO? Click the DONATE tab to the right, or send me an email. I promise you there is a way for you to help if that is your desire!
Soli Deo Gloria!