Our missionary God imparts his passion for the nations to all His followers. Going or sending will be the fruit–to do neither really isn’t an option for those who truly Know Him.
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Paul, the greatest non-divine theologian in the New Testament, was also its greatest missionary.
And if that truth is not a coincidence, than it shouldn’t be surprising to discover that throughout church history, many other great theologians, pastors, and mature believers with with solid and thoroughly bible-based theology– either became missionaries, wanted to become missionaries, or sent and cared for missionaries that were taking the gospel to all nations.
But why are these things true?
To put it simply, if anyone is in an authentic relationship with the God of the bible, they are in a relationship with the Missionary God.
And the deeper their relationship with Him is, the greater their passion will be to see His glory declared among the nations, (Psalm 96:3), the more diligently they will pursue the role that the Missionary God has for them in accomplishing that goal, and the more faithfully they will serve in whatever role He has called them to play as part of fulfilling His “end game” plan. (Rev 5:9 7:9)
Although I’m not sure who originated the following quote, I’m absolutely convinced that it is a biblically sound statement that accurately portrays the thrust of what God has revealed in His word:
“There are only two options: you’re either a goer or you’re a sender, or you’re in disobedience”.
A number of years ago, a missionary friend shared some great insight with me on this whole concept.
He was convinced that the true and living God, who is Tri-une in the essence of who He is, is both a sender, (the Father), a goer, (the Son), and an ongoing sender, (the Holy Spirit) who empowers those that continue to go and those that send and care for them.
Because this is true, anyone, (especially a pastor), with the God-given gift of teaching that is empowered by the Holy Spirit to accurately teach God’s word, will be challenging God’s people to either go or send those who He does call to go.
Not long after the movie “Field of Dreams” came out in theatres many years ago, quite a few pastors commandeered the most memorable line of that movie and changed it to, “if you teach it, they will come”.
Although I understood what they were trying to communicate–that good bible teaching will draw believers and even unbelievers in to the church, I don’t believe it was biblically accurate.
A more scripturally faithful modification of the phrase would be: “If you teach it, they will go!” And obviously, the THEY is a reference to God’s people–those who hunger to grow in their walk with Him and to learn His word.
And to spin that line one more way, “If you teach it, they will send!”
Well taught and healthy followers of the Missionary God will be eager to do what the Apostle John challenged Gaius to do in 3 John 6-8.
After reminding him that the missionaries of that day had gone forth for His name’s sake, John instructed Gaius to send them forward on their journey “in a manner worthy of God”, encouraging him to recognize that when we send missionaries well, we become “fellow workers for the truth”.
Stepping out of at least one expression of disobedience to God is as easy as pressing more deeply into your relationship with Him, asking Him to show you His heart for the nations, and then stepping in to the role He has for you as either a goer or a sender.
Pastor Jeff Jackson is the founder of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators and currently serves as the director of Church Relationships and Missionary Care. Jeff previously served with his family as church planters in the central Philippines and in the United States