Understanding missions in 4 simple steps

The foundation of ALL missions is for believers to join God in His Missio Dei.

It sounds simple, yet many participate in a consumeristic version of narcissism-riddled missions programs rather than truly serving the Misssio Dei of God at every level. We are doing ourselves, as well as the kingdom of God, a great disservice when we don’t understand God’s heart for missions.

Numbers_1 Missio Dei is a Latin term meaning, “mission of God.” In Scripture, everything that comes from the hand and heart of God has one overarching theme—to draw mankind to His deep and enduring love—as evidenced by the Father sending His Son.

 “The Scriptures teach that the end result of such Missio Dei is the glorification of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  (Peters 1972, p9)

Numbers_2 The “Big C” Church is a picture of God’s heart. After Christ accomplished His mission here on earth, He set up a system to continue the heavenly mission through His Bride—the Church. If the Church is carrying out the earthly ministrations of the Father, then God’s Mission IS the Church’s mission.

“It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.”[1]

 Being a believer and contributing to the mission of His Church means being an active earthly messenger, carrying the heavenly message of salvation to the ends of the earth.

“The Church…is not meant to call men and women out of the world into a safe religious enclave but to call them out in order to send them back as agents of God’s kingship.” Lesslie Newbigin[2]

Numbers_3 Every individual church has a specific purpose. The mission of any community of believers, or “small ‘c’ church,” is to execute the vision and values God has uniquely given them.

It’s important for every local body to realize that it’s not about expansion, but rather your local church body’s discovery of what it looks like to play its part well in unity and support of the “big C” Church’s carrying out of God’s Missio Dei. In other words, how does your congregation help draw mankind to God’s enduring love in partnership, not competition, with other parts of the Bride around the world?

Numbers_4 Individual calling for every believer comes with divine direction through the Holy Spirit to join in the grand scheme of God’s, the Church’s and their local community’s plan. God will never call you to something that goes against the direction of any one of those three.

It’s imperative that you seek and find your individual mission, because your gifting speaks into your community’s local calling, which helps identify how your community will support the “big C” Church, which ultimately serves a purpose in the big picture plan of God’s Missio Dei.

Missio Dei

To ensure that you are actively serving God’s Missio Dei as a church or as an individual, you must have:

1. A robust theology of mission that allows you to truly understand and join God’s mission

2. A strong Ecclesiology in order to fully understand the role of the Church in our dispensation

3. A healthy accountability to a community of believers exhibiting New Testament praxis

4. A personal theology of who God has made us to be in service to the above three

You should also read:

 [1] Jurgen MoltmannThe Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology, London: SCM Press, 1977, 64
[2] Newbigin, Lesslie (1986) ‘Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture’, World Council of Churches, Geneva, p 124.




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Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 2 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.

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