Mission vs. Missions
By David Cross
What is the mission of God’s people? That’s easy, right? After all, this is Missio Nexus where mission is part of the name!
Some would say that there is a difference between the overarching mission of God’s people (i.e. the purpose of the people of God in the world) and the specific act of missions (i.e. sending people out for evangelism).
Others take more of a myopic view stating the mission of God’s people is solely to preach the Gospel with words. To be sure, the mission of God’s people must include preaching and evangelism,
“How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?”
In order to have “persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne,” (Revelation 7.9), each of you need to “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10.9). No one is debating that.
On the other hand, what shows the character of God and how he is different from other gods who are worshiped? God’s miraculous nature shows this character, but it is also poetically illustrated by his people. A well known confessional passage of faith is Ephesians 2.8-10 that concludes, “For we are his workmanship [literally, ‘poetic work’], having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.”
Following Paul’s lead, let’s look back at Creation to see what God prepared beforehand for us to do.
Even before the fall, we see that Adam and Eve had jobs, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1.28). These jobs are reiterated, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it” (Genesis 2.15).
Creation care was our first job and it modeled what God did in bringing order out of disorder, bringing something out of nothing.
More examples show that the people of God were given a commission to be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12), demonstrate justice and righteousness in a corrupt world (Genesis 18), exhibit humility, and mercy (Micah 6), set captives free (Isaiah 61, Luke 7), care for widows and orphans (James 1), and even exhibit work ethic (Matthew 5, Colossians 3).
The primary Great Commission passage for so many is Matthew 28.19-20 which starts, “Going, therefore, make disciples” (author’s translation). When we think of Great Commission work, we should think of making disciples while doing all of the other things the people of God do like creation care, blessing, justice, righteousness, humility, mercy, freedom, care for widows and orphans, and even work. These are the substance that show what a world is like when people follow God.
Love your work. Love through work.
Part 4 in this series: The Strategic Impact of Global Professionals.
This article is submitted by David Cross of Professionals Global. Professionals Global is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.