Monday, August 13, 2012

Is "to the Nations" really missions?

There I was last week on a lake and in a boat listening to my old (according to my two sons) music and driving the family crazy with it while doing some reflection of ministry and missions.  You see, I have this problem of not being able to shut the mind off just because I am on vacation.  I like to use that time to sfocus on key thoughts etc..  And this year it was missions and ministry.

 In particular, what are we really doing and can we do more.

In this thought process the whole terminology thing came kept coming up.  Having been in SBC churches all of my life, missions strategy is all too familiar.  GO, REACH, and now The Nations are terms used to motivate and remind us that there is something BIG we are suppose to be doing.  But lets really look at the current lingo.

Reach the nations!

What does that mean?

Do we know what it really means?

Is the meaning the same from one person to the next?

Tough questions that produce answers describing a major issue in our mission efforts.  Is it possible that the term we are currently hearing over and over again is ushering in an actual opposite effect of little real missions?

Now grant it that I may be accused of being picky or crazy.  But think with me for just a moment. 

What does it mean?  Are we to reach whole countries?  Sure!  But how?  If we do a humanitarian effort in a country, have we taken the Gospel to the Nations?  If we hold a few worship services in this country, does that fulfill the mandate?

What does it really mean?  Have we been told by those who coined the phrase?  Are we told by those who use it in sermons and lectures on missions? 

When I hear the term, I think I know what it means but I am not sure.  Where is this term defined? 

A clear missions strategy must have a clear common understanding.  Every Pastor and staff member must be in sync with every entity leader in knowing what the term means.  But then it dawned on me, we live in a time when taking up an offering for xyz material need in some country is praised as reaching the nations.  Is it?

But today, I will allow for contemplation on this initial post about this subject while praising the members of our church for raising over $3,500 with just two weeks notice to send my traditional worship leader to India for two weeks to train Pastors in evangelism and the teaching of the Word of God so they can reach their home country residents. 

We will continue this thought later this week...


case.jess said...


I think you might be confusing things by using the terms "nations" and "countries" interchangeably.

If you are on vacation, don't read this article and just relax with your family.

If you are back and want to read an excellent piece by John Piper that addresses this very issue, here you go:

Tim G said...

I plan to address the article by Piper in this series.