Over the past week, I’ve been looking at some of the nuts and bolts issues involved when churches send mission partners. Today, I’d like to take a step back and point out why it is important to send missionaries in the first place.
So, in no particular order (except the two are the most important).
- There are around 17,000 people groups with virtually no access to the gospel. This represents over 3 billion people or over 40% of the world’s population. These are people who will have no opportunity to hear the Christian message unless something changes in the near future. I’m always worried about statistics and defining the need for mission too tightly – but however you cut it there are a lot of people who don’t know about Jesus around the world.
- 114,000,000 people speaking 1,636 languages have no access to the Bible and, as yet, there is no Bible translation project started in their language.
- Paul describes the church as a body where all of the parts need each other. We tend to see this in purely local terms, but the church around the world needs us and we need them. We have to disabuse ourselves of the idea that British Christians are particularly special. We aren’t. Or, rather, all Christians are special and we all have something to contribute to the growth of the church. We need to support churches in other parts of the world and we need to be supported.
- Christ commands us to make disciples wherever we go (Mat 28:19-20) and to be his witnesses, locally, nationally and internationally (Acts 1:8). However we perceive the human need, Christ’s command should outweigh just about everything else.
- This is how our God works. He is the one who came down to the garden to seek out Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, the one who sent the prophets and who took on human form to live, die and rise again. If we are to imitate God (which we are called to) we will follow the way in which he proactively seeks to bring reconciliation, forgiveness and healing to the world by announcing his Kingdom in word and deed.