God-Directed Deviations in Missions: Defining Terms

Defining Mission, Missionary

 

 

Starting out with the basic premise that truth always sets free and error always binds, we may have to acknowledge that common definitions ascribed to the vocabulary of missions  may not be biblical.

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The word “missionary,”is not found in the Bible.  It is found in certain translations of the bible where the translators thought to replace the word evangelist.  (2 Timothy 4:5 & Acts 21:8)  These 2 occurrences along with the well known mention in Ephesians 4:11 are, in fact, the only other times where “evangelist” is used at all.  The evolution of the word “Missionary,” was brought about by the idea that while all believers are called to evangelize, some are to evangelize as vocation.*

I don’t particularly have a problem with the word “missionary,” and I often refer to myself in such manner, but I often struggle with the ramifications of how it has been defined.  It falsely establishes a Missionary / Non-Missionary divide where designation and destination take precedent over being.  A missionary, then, is something to become as opposed to something we should be.  A “Missionary Journey,” becomes a time constrained event rather than a manner of life.

I will further develop this line of thought regarding the word “missionary” this week and continue this series on God-Directed Deviations in Missions by considering other common words and their definitions.

What do you think are some ramifications of accepting the common definitions of the word “Missionary?”

Miguel

*properly, an “evangelist” (L & N, 1, 53.76); someone with a vocational calling from God to announce the good news of the Gospel (Strongs)

 

God-Directed Deviations in Missions

God-Directed Deviations in Missions

 

 

 

 

Like my posts on God-Directed Deviations in Discipleship and Evangelism, I will now begin a series on God-Directed Deviations in Missions.  First, a few what ifs:

 

 

 

 

What if we redefined our terms?  The word Missionary occurs nowhere in the bible except for the headings between chapters, and unless we think those inspired, we must start at the beginning and ask ourselves what is a missionary?

What if we removed the destination designation from a missionary and stuck to location?  Instead of being a missionary “to” a place, we could be missionaries “in” a place.

What if we completely did away with the missionary/non-missionary divide amongst the body of Christ and embraced the idea that we were all Missionaries.

What if we took another look at how effective short-term missions are and where we could improve their impact for the Kingdom of Christ.

What if thought in terms of “being on mission,” instead of “going on missions?”

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Over the next week or so, I will be dealing with the above questions and sharing from personal experience as a Missionary in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador.

If you can think of any other “What ifs,” please add them to the comment section below.

Miguel

Savior Service Swap

Savior Service Swap

 

 

 

Consider the following quotes on focused (or unfocused) Christian service.  How often do we swap service to the Savior for th Savior Himself?

 

 

“To concentrate on service and activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining of the true goal, God Himself. At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self-centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures. Christian service of itself can, and so often does, leave our self-centered nature untouched… With those things hidden in our hearts, we have only to work alongside others, and find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, and frustration issuing from our hearts. We think we are working for God, but the test of how little of our service for Him is revealed by our resentment or self-pity… We need to leave our lusting for ever-larger spheres of Christian service and concentrate on seeing God for ourselves and finding the deep answer for life in Him.” *

Roy Hession

*We Would See Jesus, Christian Literature Crusade, 1961, p. 15.

I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.

Hudson Taylor

Trying to work for God without worshipping God results in joyless legalism. Work minus worship magnifies your will power not God’s worth. If you try to do things for God without delighting in God you bring dishonor upon God. Serving God without savoring God is lifeless and unreal.

John Piper

Worship empowers serving; serving expresses worship. Godliness requires a disciplined balance between the two. Those who can maintain service without regular personal and corporate worship are serving in the flesh. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been serving that way or how well others think they serve, they are not striving according toGod’s power, as Paul did, but their own… At the same time, one measure of the authenticity of worship (again, both personal and corporate) is whether it results in a desire to serve… Therefore, we must maintain that to be Godly, we should discipline ourselves for both worship and service. To engage in one without the other is, in reality, to experience neither.

Donald Whitney

So many of us think about it the other way around. We think of church in terms of our serving God and receiving from others. But this is backwards. Sacrificial service in the church doesn’t start with serving. It starts with being served by God. Then as we are satisfied in Him and who He’s revealed Himself to be in His crucified Son, we gladly overflow in service of others.

David Mathis

If God is my portion, if God is the true source of my joy, and if it is God who will fulfill me, then I am free to be a companion instead of a consumer. That is, because of what I receive from God I can give to another person instead of always taking; I can minister rather than manipulate because of the fulfillment I get from God.

Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips

Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you. 

Corrie ten Boom

It is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love Him.

P.T. Forsyth

True saints do what they do because they are drawn by love. True Christians find that the love of God in Christ is so attractive, so beautiful, that they cannot help wanting to serve Him. There is a splendor, a beauty, about God and His ways that lures humans beings to Him.

Gerald McDermott

Don’t ever forget that you cannot do what God has called you to do. You cannot parent that child, love that husband, care for that elderly parent, submit to that boss, teach that Sunday school class, or lead that small-group Bible study. God specializes in the impossible, so that when the victory is won and the task is complete, we cannot take any credit. Others know we didn’t do it, and we know we didn’t do it. We must always remember that we can only live the Christian life and serve God through the power of His Holy Spirit. As soon as we think we can handle it on our own, we become useless to Him. We have to be willing to get out of the way, let God take over, and let Him overshadow us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins.

Thomas Brooks

We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker… The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it.

A.W. Tozer

If we give God service it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us.

C.H. Spurgeon

This does not mean that I cannot desire to be blessed by my service to God. In fact, God promises to bless our obedience according to His loving purposes, and in some measure He uses these blessings to encourage us to honor His standards. The point is not that His blessings should never motivate us at all, but they cannot be the driving force of our service. His blessings are the oil that helps the machinery of obedience operate, but love for God and desire for His glory are the pistons and wheels.

Bryan Chapell



 





 

 

 

 


"Missiopathic" ~ Mission with an attitude.

 

Missiopathic ~ Mission with an attitude

 

 

“Missiopathic,”

“What it means to be a Missiopath.”

 

 

A working Definition:  A Missiopath is somebody who exhibits missiopathy, who behaves in a way that suggests a strong sense of mission (living as sent). Unlike the average human, a missiopath does not feel any sense of shame when committing to live out an aspect of God’s mission. Because of this predilection for service they will always look for opportunities to advance the Kingom. The types of behaviors they exhibit are those that might make someone with a spiritually awakened conscience uncomfortable.

My intention in creating (coining) this word is to invoke the idea of Missiopathy amongst those who wish to live as sent.

There are no negative connotations in this word, and my intention is to steer clear of any suggested.  What I would like, is to have you, the reader, contribute to defining this word more clearly and to suggest further meanings or clarity.

 

Miguel

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism: Summary

Accepting Christ?

1. Any evangelist whose expressed objective is to “get his audience to heaven” or who holds out the prospect of proverbial “pot of gold at the end of a Gospel rainbow,” in whatever terminology it is couched, must immediately be viewed with deep suspicion. Regrettably all too many evangelists have fallen victim to an approach that is openly or subtly man-centered.

2. No, the aim of the Gospel is not to get men to heaven, but to return them to God, neither is it to make them trouble free and happy, but to render them sin free and holy. The Good News is and should be God-centered, thoroughly and unashamedly. Only then, ironically, it serves the (best) interests of man.

3. When an “evangelist” gives the audience the choice between the horror of hell or the bliss of heaven, and between a life of abundance and wealth or an existence of trouble and at best survival by show of hands or otherwise, it invariably and unanimously will opt for heaven and abundance. Such is the natu- ral inclination of man.

4. If that same “evangelist” can convince his audience that “accepting Christ” will mean the difference between heaven and hell, between abundance and trouble, there is every reason to believe that in retro- spect he can boast that 100% of that audience made a “decision for Christ.” With the stakes so high, why would it be otherwise?

5. However, when a preacher of the biblical Gospel invites the audience to choose either God and holi- ness or man and happiness, it will unalterably and without exception opt for the latter. It is man’s natu- ral inclination to say yes to heaven and happiness, but to spit out his no to God and holiness. Only the biblical Gospel will bring this out and so set the stage to deal with the real issues of life (and death).

6. Now “accepting Christ” is no longer relevant or sufficient. The audience is confronted with a need to turn away from itself in order to serve God (repentance), a need to flee to Christ as the only way back to God (faith), and a need to call upon him not only to secure forgiveness of sins but also holiness of life. The difference between a message made by and centered on man and the Gospel given by and centered on God is one of night and day!

These points were taken from one of my previous seminary professors*.  I will continue this series in blog posts titled “Applications of God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism.”

 

Miguel

 

* Dr Henry Krabbendam

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism Part III

Te Choice

 

 

When an “evangelist” gives the audience the choice between the horror of hell or the bliss of heaven, and between a life of abundance and wealth or an existence of trouble and at best survival by show of hands or otherwise, it invariably and unanimously will opt for heaven and abundance. Such is the natu-ral inclination of man.

Aren’t we clever?  We created a situation in evangelism so as to make people choose between two or more alternatives and then pressure them into a “decision.” For what?  So we can put another notch in whatever accounting system we use to track the Making of Disciples?  If the construct of the choice is faulty, the decision is also faulty.  When the scenario that we portray does not come to pass, it is we who are at fault for un-Jesus-shaped spirituality that manifests itself in the Church.

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism Part II

Heaven or Hell

 

 

Continued from yesterday’s post

2. No, the aim of the Gospel is not to get men to heaven, but to return them to God, neither is it to make them trouble free and happy, but to render them sin free and holy. The Good News is and should be God-centered, thoroughly and unashamedly. Only then, ironically, it serves the (best) interests of man.

 

If you were to die today, where would you go? Heaven or Hell?  It is surprising to me how many people actually answer this question and answer it honestly from their current framework or conviction.  The problem is that we immediately distort the Gospel by making salvation about a place instead of a person.  The gospel is not destination, but relation.  A place is attainable, at least intellectually speaking.  A relationship with a person interjects conditions which are outside of oneself.  Heaven should not be used a carrot on a stick to bring people to Jesus, instead it is through Jesus that we attain heaven.

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism Part I

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism

 

God-Directed Deviations in Evangelism

Part 1

1. “Any evangelist whose expressed objective is to “get his audience to heaven” or who holds out the prospect of proverbial “pot of gold at the end of a Gospel rainbow,” in whatever terminology it is couched, must immediately be viewed with deep suspicion. Regrettably all too many evangelists have fallen victim to an approach that is openly or subtly man-centered.”

 

 

It’s called “Destination Disease,” and its symptoms are easily recognized.  If evangelism efforts are directed towards getting people to a place (Church, Heaven, Geographical Location) rather than a person, (Jesus) then efforts must be spent in keeping them there.  Herein evolves the religious machine instead real relationship.