Can a desire to help Christians understand who they are and motivate them to live the way the bible describes actually wind up harming a specific minority of other Christians? Pastor Jeff Jackson believes that is not only possible, but that it is actually taking place.
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING YOUR MISSON-FIELD!
Have you ever seen a sign like that above the exit doors on the inside of the foyer of a church or out on the church property right next to the exit driveway so that everyone pulling out of the church parking lot can see it?
I’ve seen them at a number of different churches that I have either visited or taught in over the years.
And even though many of the newer churches that are being started by younger people don’t actually put up those kinds of signs, the belief that is expressed by those signs is being imparted to the members of those newer churches.
The mindset goes something like this:
Since every follower of Jesus is in actuality, a missionary–on mission with God, then every where that Christian is; from where he lives, to the neighborhood and city he lives in, to his place of employment–where he finds himself, that place IS a mission-field.
I get it.
And I agree that the bible teaches that Christians are new creations in Christ and that each and every one of them are His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:17-20), with a message that has been given to them that they are commanded to pass on to others who have not been reconciled to God in Jesus as they have.
Clearly, every Christian should take seriously the reality that they are salt and light, (Matt 5:13-16), and should view themselves as being on a mission from God right where they live on a day in, day out basis.
Therefore, if believing and living as if you are God’s representative, as if you’re on a mission from God, is what it means to be a missionary, then it makes perfect sense to conclude that every Christian is in fact, a missionary.
So, following this line of thought, it is essential for every believer to be taught and challenged to understand what they actually are–missionaries, and to live as such for their own good, the good of the church, the good of those they interact with, and the glory of God.
Again, I get the motivation and the reasoning behind it.
But if the word missionary, (which has historically been used to refer to a distinct group of people within the larger body of Christ), is used to describe every Christian, then how should those that have traditionally been viewed as missionaries be described?
Many of those who have embraced the every Christian is a missionary mindset would say that there is no need to have a special title or word for those people that used to be referred to as missionaries.
Which then makes it an easy step to the logical outworking of that mindset–that the respect, regard, and attention that that group of people, (who used to be called missionaries), formerly received from the larger body of Christ is no longer necessary.
But have we really thought through what we have embarked upon?
Whether intentionally or inadvertently, when we broaden the definition of a word that historically described a distinctly called and minority group of people within a larger group, something more than a redefinition of a word ends up taking place.
The special attention and care that distinct group of people formerly received from the majority is abandoned.
Up next: The American cultural trait that blurs God-designed and God-glorifying distinctions between the people and things He has created.