By Scott Logsdon
The goal of international missions is the ongoing spread of the gospel in the world through the establishment and support of healthy churches. In the final pages of the Bible, we see people of the world coming together as one to worship God in Christ Jesus. His kingdom is incredibly diverse.
It should not surprise us, then, that work in a complex, diverse kingdom will be complex and diverse. In fact, the work will be as diverse as each individual Christian. We are all gifted in various and amazing ways that can be used by God to advance His mission.
Here are three areas of emphasis when we think of mission.
1. This mission is God’s mission.
God is accomplishing this mission in the world, not us. Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). We are His messengers, tools that He can use as we follow Him. But make no mistake, He is the primary actor in mission.
2. The mission is the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all earth.
In fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecy, Jesus Christ laid down His perfect life and powerfully defeated death to take His seat as the King of our salvation. Jesus told His disciples on the road to Emmaus that His death and resurrection were foretold in Scripture but so was the proclamation of His death and resurrection in all the world. In the Great Commission, Jesus gave His disciples the task of continuing His mission.
3. The mission is primarily given to and accomplished by the church.
We are all called individually to be disciples who obey Jesus. But growing in obedience is meant to happen as part of a community of followers who learn to obey Jesus together. Almost everywhere we see the gospel proclaimed and believed in Scripture, we see churches develop as a result. This is the overwhelming trend: the gospel is proclaimed, disciples believe it, they gather into churches, and leaders are appointed. The community of Christ, the church, is designed to love and protect the growth of other believers.
Whenever God establishes a new church that has the health to endure, He has ensured that the gospel will continue to be proclaimed in a place long after foreign visitors leave.