Some interesting thoughts from Joining in With the Spirit by Kirsteen Kim (p.9)
Christians have born witness to Jesus Christ since the very beginnings of the early Church at Pentecost, and understand that they are ‘sent’ into the world, as Jesus himself was sent in the power of the Spirit from the Father (John 20:21-2). The term ‘mission’ derives from the Latin ‘I send’. It carries the sense that God needs emissaries to make the good news of Jesus Christ heard (Rom. 10:14-15) and that those who witness to Christ are ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). However in the sixteenth century when the members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) began to be sent by popes to do their bidding in any part of the world, the term acquired the technical meaning of the overseas division of the the established church, a mobile ‘force’ to establish and build up the church abroad. Missions became the foreign arm of churches based in powerful countries, who took advantage of their global connections to carry the message further afield.