Summary: What is the church’s commission? What is the church’s mission? The study of the church’s mission is called missiology.
What is the church’s commission? What is the church’s mission? The study of the church’s mission is called missiology.
The Witness and Light
What is a witness? Where were the disciples to witness?
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8 NASB)
What is a light? What does that light bring?
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47 NIV)
A Short Term Mission Trip
Short term mission trips are as old as Jesus sending the 70. First, notice a strange word. The Greek word for “apostle” is also a verb. We don’t use it that way in English. Let’s see.
“… the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent [apostled] them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” (Luke 10:1 NKJV)
How does this compare to many short-term missions trips today?
Two by Two
There is great wisdom in going two by two, providing encouragement and protection in dangerous areas.
Where He was to Go
Notice that these missionaries were also sent in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival, into every city and place where Jesus was about to go. It was new, not old ground. Sending missionaries to repair churches and give health care is good, but it is not what these were sent on. These were pioneers.
It’s a Big Job
Pioneer missionaries have a big job.
The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10:2 NKJV)
This mission prepared for Jesus’ arrival. Short term missions should prepare for Jesus’ arrival in the sense of His teachings.
Lambs Among Wolves
The dangers are made quite clear.
Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. (Luke 10:3 NKJV)
The world uses slander, violence and murderous threats like wolves. Christians are supposed to be more like lambs.
A Journey of Faith
Although in later missions, people could carry money and changes of clothing, that was not the case here.
Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. (Luke 10:4 NKJV)
They were not to carry money, bag or spare sandals. Why? It was an exercise in faith. This is very different to many short-term missions today. Do we lack faith or willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel?
Greet No One
There was no time for idle chatter. There was a sense of urgency, focus and drive to their mission. How many missions waste time taking in the sights and other non-mission focused pursuits?
We notice that an offering of peace was made, which may be stated in different terms in our language.
But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. (Luke 10:5-6 NKJV)
This greeting tested their welcome, whether the peace of the Gospel might also be welcome.
They stayed where they were welcomed, not different nights in different places. This would provide a certain amount of stability, making it easier for the curious to find them.
And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. (Luke 10:7 NKJV)
The Laborer is Worthy
This is not a call to be a freeloader, because the Gospel is work. Churches should provide some stipend, no matter how miniscule, for their local pastor. This is the Lord’s will.
Learn to Shake it Off
When we are not made welcome, shake it off and move on. A small ritual can help.
But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. (Luke 10:10-11 NKJV)
This was bad news for them. Jesus said it would be more tolerable for Sodom on judgment day than that city.
The mission brings joy, but we should rejoice more that our names are written in heaven.
We declare His works among the nations.
… Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. (Psalm 96:1-3 NKJV)
Long before people will hear a preacher, they will hear lay people. What do they hear out of our mouths? How can they believe if they have not heard?