The What and Why of “Mission”

As followers of Jesus, we know that we are supposed to be on mission in some sense. Most of us are familiar with the “Great Commission” when Jesus commissions His disciples in Matthew 28. However, this is far from the only verse that tells us we should be on mission in the world. But what does being on mission mean?

It certainly includes particular mission trips to places (both international and local), only our mission as followers of Jesus is bigger than that. Being on mission as a Christian means participating in God’s mission. He actually calls us into His own mission! The God of the Bible is a missional God. That’s who He is. Meaning, He has always been about redeeming and reclaiming this fallen world. His mission is cosmic. We as His people get to participate in this mission. Christopher Wright beautifully weaves this together,

Fundamentally, our mission (if it is biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation. (Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God : Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2006.)

This means being on mission encompasses everything: school, work, family, marriage, worship, prayer, dating, friends, sports, spiritual warfare, band, dance, etc. God’s mission extends into all of these areas. So if this is the what of mission. What about the why? Why are Christians called to be on mission?

Ultimately, this goes back to who God is. God is a missional God not only in what He desires but in who He is. As Christians, we believe God is Triune: Father, Son, and Spirit. Three persons, one God. (If you’re unfamiliar with this foundational belief or confused by it please read the wonderful, short book Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves.) God is a God who sends Himself (dwell on that for a while). The Father sent the Son to redeem the world. The Father and the Son sent the Spirit to continue God’s work of redemption in the world. And ultimately, the Spirit empowers us to go out into the world and participate in this redemptive mission. Since God is missional, He makes us missional.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22 (NET)

If you have believed in the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles you are also sent out to carry that Gospel anywhere and everywhere. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a student, someone working three jobs or unemployed. Whether you’re an empty-nester, newlywed, or single. Whether you’re young or old, rich or poor. You have been invited to participate in God’s cosmic renovation project. You can get to work right where you are.

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