The definition of mission

The cultural mandate, which is often referred to as social responsibility, goes as far back as the Garden of Eden.

 God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. – Genesis 1:28

We are held accountable for the well-being of God’s creation.  In the New Testament we are told that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. The concept of neighbour, as the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches includes all of humanity.

With the evangelical mandate, humans had been alienated from God.  God’s nature was made clear by the first words He spoke —

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9

God immediately began seeking Adam.

 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?  And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. – Romans 10:14-15

Bearing the gospel which brings people from darkness to light is fulfilling the evangelistic mandate.

Prioritization of evangelism however best reflects the New Testament doctrine of mission and that is Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and we move out in Jesus’ name to do the same.

This is rooted in the Great Commission which appears in all four Gospels and the Book of Acts.

Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,  and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. – Matthew 28:19-20

What is a disciple? A disciple is one who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, a new creature in Christ. and who is known by their fruit.

Is setting goals and placing strategy based on the Great Commission a way of expressing faith? It is putting substance in things hoped for.

We are to strategically go into the world, preach the gospel to every person and make disciples of all nations – panta ta ethne.  God is not willing that any should perish.

A steward is entrusted to fulfill great responsibilities – we are stewards of the mysteries of God – a parallel expression of the gospel.  What is the gospel for? It is the power of God for salvation. Stewards are to be found faithful and successful.

In other words, if we are investing resources of time, personnel and money in programs which are supposed to make disciples but are not, we need to reconsider them and be willing to change the program if needed. Jesus’ parable suggests hat if the fig tree does not bear fruit after an appropriate lapse of time, it should be cut down and the ground used for something more productive.











I am encouraged by the Apostle Paul to see God’s concern for mission strategy.

So that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints – Ephesians 1:18

If we look at the Lord’s prayer –

Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10

It is not when we invite Jesus to come and take over our lives does His Kingdom come – it is when we make Him Saviour and Lord that we draw in the Kingdom concept.

Jesus Himself declared that God’s Kingdom had arrived when miracles took place.

But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.– Luke 11:20

Interesting to note that a Kingdom not of this world has the power that can cast out demons.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” – John 18:36

Jesus said this about His Kingdom too –

And this good news[a] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14

I am thinking that the kingdom He was proclaiming involved the power and presence of God breaking into situations dominated by Satan.

I do not think that we think precisely what are the works of the devil.

Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.– 1 John 3:8


Urban mission

Urban mission began with the story of Jonah as he was called to preach to the people in the city of Nineveh.

God was serious about bringing His message to the city – He cared about them and even the animals.

And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?” – Jonah 4:11

It is significant that the missionary strategy of the apostle Paul was completely urban.

Prayer for cities is missionary activity.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.– Jeremiah 29:7

Life in a city lies ahead of us.  It will be a city where truth and righteousness are the way of life and Christ’s name alone is honoured. That vision should motivate us now,and keep us going despite the obstacles. For like Abraham —

For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.– Hebrews 11:10

Ministry in cities requires the full armour of God – your spiritual development is most important – not just once, or occasionally, but daily.


Our first priority

And this good news[a] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14

God’s desire to reach all peoples and persons is obviously pat of His purpose for His Kingdom to come on earth.  He looks toward the time when all the nations of the world will declare His glory.

We look confidently forward to this time.

 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
    and of his Messiah,[a]
and he will reign forever and ever.” – Revelation 11:15

 The apostle Paul was specifically sent to the non-Jewish people groups.

 I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you  to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ – Acts 26:17-18

Is it possible that we have become so tied up with our measurements of evangelism, social reform and economic growth that we have forgotten that God is primarily in the business of expanding the reign of His kingdom and conquering Satan?

For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.– Ephesians 6:12



The supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ

We are gripped by the love of Christ – He hems us in and leaves us no escape.  We enjoy newness of life through His death for us, we have no alternative but to live for Him who died for us and rose again.  Our first loyalty is to Him, to seek to please Him, to live a life worthy of Him and to obey Him.

So may God fill us with His Spirit! Then, speaking the truth in love, we shall grow up into Christ who is the head of the Body, to the everlasting glory of God.


Church is a worshiping community

 Like living stones, let yourselves be built[a] into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.- 1 Peter 2:5

Let us recognize that forms of worship (including the presence or absence of different kinds of liturgy, ceremony, music, colour, drama, etc.) will be developed by the church in keeping with indigenous culture.

Each church is God’s church. Some missions and missionaries have been slow to recognize this and to accept its implications in the direction of indigenous forms.

In Jesus teaching and that of the apostles the corollary of good news to the oppressed was a word of judgment to the oppressor.

The people of God are by His grace a unique multi-racial, multi-national, multi-cultural community.  This community is God’s new creation, His new humanity, in which Christ has abolished all barriers.  There is therefore no room for racism in the Christian society, or for tribalism – whether in its African form, or in the form of European social classes, or of the Indian caste system.  Despite the Church’s failures, this vision of a supra-ethnic community of love is not a romantic ideal, but a command of the lord, Therefore, while rejoicing in our cultural inheritance and developing our own indigenous forms, we must always remember that our primary identity as Christians is not in our particular cultures but in the one Lord and His one Body.

You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone.– Philippians 4:15

No church is, or should try to become, self-sufficient.

We are to challenge what is evil and affirm what is good – to welcome and seek to promote all that is wholesome and enriching in art, science, technology, agriculture, industry, education, community development and social welfare – to denounce injustice and support the powerless and the oppressed – to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, which is the most liberating and humanizing force in the world – and to actively engage in good works of love. Although, in social and cultural activity as in evangelism, we must leave the results to God, we are confident that He will bless our endeavours and use them to develop our community.

Finally, beloved,[a] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[b] these things.– Philippians 4:8

The Church cannot impose Christian standards on an unwilling society, but it can commend them by both argument and example.

In every culture Christians find themselves in a situation of conflict and often of suffering.  We are called to fight.

For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.– Ephesians 6:12

We need each other.

While energetically labouring on earth, we look forward with joyful anticipation to the return of Christ, and to the new heaven and new earth in which righteousness will dwell.  for then not only will culture be transformed, as the nations bring their glory into the New Jerusalem, but the whole creation will be liberated from its present bondage of futility, decay and pain so as to share the glorious freedom of God’s children.  Then at last, every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue openly proclaim that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

church is a worshiping community




Jesus warned us that this turning away from the past may involve painful sacrifices, even the loss of family and possessions.

It also means to a reappraisal of every aspect of our world view, our behaviour and our relationships.

Our World View

The heart of every culture is a “religion” of some kind. These religious beliefs function like tectonic plates that give shape to observable patterns of life in the cultural community. J.H. Bavinck puts it simply:

“Culture is religion made visible; it is religion actualized in the innumerable relations of daily life.”

B.Harvie Conn builds on Bavinck’s insights: he stresses…

“…the core place of religion in the structuring of culture’s meaning and usage.”
Religion is “not an area of life, one among many, but primarily a direction of life …. Religion, then, becomes the heart of culture’s integrity, its central dynamic as an organism, the totalistic radical response of man-in-covenant to the revelation of God.”
“Religion” is a whole cluster of basic beliefs and values, which is the reason why for our purposes we are looking at “worldview” as an equivalent expression. True conversion to Christ is bound to strike at the heart of our cultural inheritance.
Our Behaviour
The lordship of Jesus challenges our moral standards and whole ethical lifestyle.  This is not “repentance” but rather the “fruit that befits repentance,” the change of conduct which issues from a change of outlook. Both our minds and our wills must submit to the obedience of Christ.
Our Relationships
At the day of Pentecost, after Peter finished speaking, those who received his message were baptized, devoted themselves to the new fellowship and found that the Lord added to their fellowship daily.  Their “transfer” meant they were spiritually distinct rather than that they were socially segregated.
“Jesus is Lord” means more than that he is Lord of our world view, behaviours and relationships, and more so, he is Lord of culture. It means that He is Lord of the powers, having been exalted by the Father to universal sovereignty; principalities and powers having been made subject to Him.  Many from the majority world believers have spoken both of the reality of evil powers and the necessity to demonstrate the supremacy of Jesus over them.
Power in human hands is always dangerous.  We are called to mind the recurring theme of Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians – that God’s power, which is clearly seen in the cross of Christ, operates through human weakness.  Worldly people worship power – Christians who have it know its peril.
Conversion is in essence a turning to God which continues as all areas of life are brought in increasingly radical ways under the lordship of Christ.  Conversion involves the Christian’s complete transformation and total renewal in mind and character according to the likeness of Christ.