John Piper’s words “missions exists because worship doesn’t” (from Let the Nations be Glad) have been an inspiration to many since they were written and have gained a quasi-sacred status among some Christians. It is surprising, but refreshing, then to see this concept challenged by a couple of Aussies:
Someone once challenged us that in heaven there’ll be no mission only worship. We couldn’t disagree more. Sure, we won’t be feeding the poor or planting churches. Those missional activities will cease when every knee bows, every tongue confesses, and every tear is wiped away. But in the world to come, we will still be charged with the task of declaring Jesus’ rule over all of life. We are looking forward to that unhindered mission of the new age and to worshipping through the process of offering our world back to God.
From ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church (p.181)
This is thought provoking and challenging stuff, but I think I agree with the sentiment. If mission is purely about making converts, then yes, it will end when this world ends. But if mission is about proclaiming Jesus as Lord to the insider and outsider, then there will always be a place for mission. That being said, I don’t anticipate a great role for Bible translation in the age to come!