The Mission Stream: Headwaters
The Mission Stream is a phrase that Shepherd’s Staff has found to be incredibly useful for helping people to understand global missions.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what our ministry means when we use the term:
The Mission Stream is the ongoing, outward flow of God’s love that He uses to carry the messengers and the message of the Gospel to sinful people where ever they live on this planet, for His glory and their ultimate good.
THE FIVE FACETS/SECTIONS OF THE MISSION STREAM
Somewhat similar to a stream of water, The Mission Stream is composed of the following facets/sections:
–HEADWATERS: The headwaters are numerous truths about God, freshly understood.
–FLOW: The movement or initial flow of the stream that is produced in individuals and churches when they permit what they now know about God to change their life-priorities.
–DEEPENING AND WIDENING: The deepening and widening of the stream as it continues to move–where individuals and churches really discover the role The Missionary God has for them in helping the stream to reach its destination.
–RAPIDS: The obstacles that the stream encounters, some of which produce dangerous, rapid-like conditions for a short season.
–CALM: The calm on the other side of the rapids just before and just after the stream reaches the destination that He ordained for it.
Although every person and every church that wades in The Mission Stream will experience these five facets/sections of the stream, what each looks like and what is required to navigate it successfully will differ based on the role that The Missionary God assigns to them.
What composes the headwaters of The Mission Stream?
In a way similar to the headwaters of a stream being produced by precipitation that comes down as rain or snow from the clouds, the headwaters of The Mission Stream are also produced by that which comes down from above–God’s self-revelation to those He created in His own image and likeness.
Through the things that He has made, through what He has hard-wired in to every person, and especially through His written word, He creatively seeks to reveal Himself to all people, despite their rejection of Him and rebellion against His design.
For those who have taken the initial step of responding to being sought by Him and have entered in to a personal and interactive relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son, He offers a never-ending invitation for them to deepen their intimacy with Him through continual growth in their understanding of who He is and the things that matter to Him.
THE HEADWATERS THAT ORIGINATE THE MISSION STREAM
When those that already know Him intentionally drink more deeply from the fountain of His written word that He has sent down in to our realm of existence, they discover these five additional truths about Him–the truths that compose the headwaters of The Mission Stream.
1–HE IS THE MISSIONARY GOD
From the moment of Adam and Eve’s initial rejection of Him and rebellion against His design for them and creation, until He brings about His end-game plan, He has taken the initiative to seek and to save those who are lost–clearly revealing Himself as The Missionary God.
2–HE CREATED THE LANGUAGES AND ETHNICITIES THAT EXIST
He is the creator of every language and ethnicity that has ever existed and has bestowed each of them with its own glory that reflects a portion of His immeasurable glory, in a way that is unique to people from within that group.
3–HE WILL RECEIVE THEIR WORSHIP
An aspect of His end-game plan is to both receive worship from people that represent every language and ethnicity that He created, and to have them live together forever in unified diversity, with each of them regularly bringing their unique glory to Him as an expression of their ongoing worship and service.
4–HE CREATED THE CHURCH TO ACCOMPLISH HIS END-GAME PLAN
When Jesus commissioned the apostles to go and make disciples from within every ethnic group, He was declaring that His church was to be the primary vessel through which He would accomplish His end-game purposes of gathering worshipers from every ethnic group, where ever they live on this planet.
5–HE CALLS SOME TO GO AND EVERYONE ELSE TO SEND AND CARE
The apostle Paul told the Philippian church that their participation in his ministry of taking the gospel to all ethnic groups provoked him to joy and that God was keeping an account of the amount of their finances they gave to His global cause. (Phil. 1:3-5)
The apostle John told Gaius, a mature Christian man, that God’s people have the responsibility to send missionaries in a manner worthy of God and that by doing so, they become fellow workers for the truth. (3 John)
PERCEIVING WILL PROVOKE PARTICIPATION
When His people’s understanding of who their God is increases and now includes these five headwater-generating truths, their perception of the reality of The Mission Stream will be amplified and that perception will provoke an eagerness in both churches and individuals to wade in to the stream and become an active participant.
Photo by Ricardo Alfaro on unsplash.com