Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and Missions. Hi, this is Missions on Point, episode 130. We're starting a series on your Church Missions handbook. This is the second one in the series on biblical basis.
While I understand that for most people talking about a mission's handbook may seem kind of dull, and yet this document can be one of the most important foundational documents for your church's vision for missions for decades to come. If your church doesn't have one, you really need to create one and listening to this series will help you do it. If you already have one, you might want to dust it off and actually read it and compare it with some of the ideas and concerns we have in this series on your church mission's handbook. Coincidentally, the church plant that I'm working with has recognized that because so many issues surrounding missions and missionary relationships and outreach and cross-cultural funding for things is so volatile that we are creating our Church Missions handbook before we make any long-term decisions about who and what to support.
That's kind of an ideal situation, but it helps me help you to rethink the many, many churches we've helped in writing this kind of formative document to help guide their thoughts and decisions and keep them out of falling into potholes along the way for their church. I'll state the same disclaimer I did in the first one of the series. Because the podcast is fairly limited in amount of time we spend, I'm going to be pretty direct about my perspective, the Propempo perspective, on what these issues are and give you the straight scoop pretty quickly. You may or may not agree. You may have to study and decide for yourself, but these are the things that I would recommend if I were in your shoes and I am, so to speak.
So let's get started. It's important to recognize that this is a summary of biblical basis for missions and not an extensive theological treatise. Remember your audience. I'm going to say that more than once through this whole process of building a mission's handbook. Your audience ultimately is your congregation, not just the leaders and not just those who are biblically informed or theologically inclined. So you need to be careful about what you say and how you say it to keep it really simple and understandable in all aspects. We love starting a document like this with Bible references because our authority comes from the Bible. We need to remember that because these are the most important things of Evangelical Christianity and they relate back to the five solas of the Reformation, if you will, that it's scripture alone where we get our authority and it's not just whatever the current trends are or whatever we're hearing is popular in missions. It's scripture that guides us. So we start with scripture.
You also need to recognize that it's easy to fall into ditches on either side of the main road here. One is to keep it too too simple and simply quote Matthew 28:18-20, the best known passage on The Great Commission, and say that's it. Although there are a lot of wonderful things we could say about The Great Commission in Matthew 28, that's not all it and people grossly misunderstand it because it has been twisted and turned and abused and misused in so many ways over so many decades, even generations that particularly Western North American church people don't really understand the implications of Matthew 28. For that, I'll have you go back and listen to previous episodes of Missions on Point to explain it.
Another simple pitfall or ditch to fall into is that you assume that Christians need to help all people everywhere with every kind of need that they may have, and so it's really easy to give simplistic quotes from the Bible that are perhaps taken out of context to imply that the church needs to be about doing good without unnecessary reference to proclaiming the gospel. So one of the uses of this biblical basis is to avoid that ditch or that pitfall so that people aren't able having read the document to make assumptions about improper or incorrect biblical interpretation or extension of concepts that tug at their emotional heartstrings or even their social and political inclinations to prove something about missions that really isn't biblically true. So if the one ditch on one side of the road is being too simple or using scripture out of context to support whatever fad or concerns or emotional pull of the current people or ideas have sway at the moment, we want to stick with things that are fundamental and timeless from scripture.
The other ditch on the other side is to put too much in and it's easy to just throw in a lot a lot of scripture references and try to expand that out. I'm for using just a handful of references that are clear and build a case for the church's role in missions and God's priority in missions. You can always use other references without giving full quotes or explanation.
Here are some of the key passages that I would use and the reason why. I would start in Genesis 12, 1 and 2. This is the Abrahamic Covenant, which prophesize that Abraham's seed will be a blessing to all nations. Many Bible teachers feel like Genesis 1-11, those chapters, are the setup and introduction for the rest of the Bible that shows God getting glory and blessing from all ethnicities of the earth, and it starts right there with Genesis Chapter 12, and all the rest of scripture unpacks that until the Book of Revelation.
Another great indicator of this in the life of Israel is Psalm 67. The whole chapter is basically a missions active Psalm looking to the people of God who are blessed to be a blessing by instructing the nations of the blessings of knowing and following after the one true God. Of course, Matthew 28:18-20 is this Great Commission passage that we know so well and we have unpacked it in previous episodes of Missions on Point to show and prove that you cannot fulfill this Great Commission without the planting of indigenous local churches.
So if you put bullet points of little bit of explanation or insight into these passages under each one in your document, one of the things that you might say is The Great Commission in Matthew 28 is not just about evangelism, it's not just about discipleship, it's about the whole intentional goal of bringing people to Christ, discipling them, gathering them so that they are regularly under the teaching of the Word of God, observing the ordinances, and committed to one another in Christ.
The next passage I would include is Acts 4:12. It's a very clear statement by Peter in the early church that there is one and only one way of salvation, and that is through faith in Christ. It is important to pick some scriptures that emphasize the exclusivity of the gospel. People around the world are not saved if they have not heard about Christ and given the opportunity to repent of their sins and put their faith in him. They can't get acceptance by God and forgiveness of sins following their own religious ways or their own system that is basically manmade legalistic regardless of what religion they call it. The biblical gospel is faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone.
This is reinforced in the next passage I would include, Romans 10:13-17. It's very clear that people are saved by hearing the gospel and that process then includes messengers being sent to take the gospel, which is the essence of missions for the local church. Third John verses 5-8 emphasize this sending role and it's important to do that. There are other passages that would do it, but third John 5-8 is very clear. The church has a role and a partnership in sending out workers for the sake of the truth of the gospel.
The last passage I would include in my list would be Revelation Chapter 5, because here in the end of times is a snapshot picture of people from every nation, tongue, and tribe surrounding the throne of God in heaven because they have been purchased by the blood of Christ and trusted him and they're worshiping him. This is the end goal. That's what we're doing missions for. It's not just to make men better.
In fact, I'm reminded of an old quote, and I can't place the exact source right now, is that if we just take care of people and dress them up and improve their financial situation, their social status, their freedom from slavery, their health and wellbeing, and only do that, then we're just dressing them up for hell. It is not enough and it is not biblical just to do good indiscriminately for the sake of some humanitarian, social, legal, civil, or emotional reason so that we can feel better about ourselves. If the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ does not occur in the process intentionally of trying to help and uplift other people and rescue other people, then we have failed as Christians. We're no better than any secular organization or government.
With that in mind, let me just tell you two passages I would not include that are often included in people's mindset with regard to a biblical basis for missions. One is Matthew 22:37-40. This is when the guy questions Jesus about what is the greatest commandment, and Jesus says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment." And the second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and prophets." People want to use that as marching orders for missions somehow in order to love your neighbor as yourself, but that's not the context at all, and it shouldn't be used for missions.
The other one is similar. It's Luke 10:25-37, and that is the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus tells to explain to someone asking the same kind of question, "So who is my neighbor? If I'm to love my neighbors myself, who's my neighbor?" And Jesus gives this story of what we call the Good Samaritan. Again, this is abused and taken out of context to imply to people that we have some moral obligation to take care of people who are in need, even if we have no relationship to them anywhere in the world, and that's not the intent of that passage or the proper use of that passage.
I would encourage you to use these seven scripture passages quoted in part or in whole with a few bullet points under each one explaining why this is significant for the biblical basis and missions, and then list other passages if you wish. What you're doing is setting the platform for building other things with regard to missions in our missions handbook. We're going to be talking about the scope of authority of the missions team or missions committee or the body that's delegated to manage and supervise missions, if you will, on behalf of the church. We're going to be talking about key definitions that are very significant for everybody to understand and be united behind.
We'll also talk about church strategy and focus, the Missions team charter, which does overlap some of these other concepts, the team structure and functions, which are very practical application of these things. How does the missions team actually work, team decision making, team metrics, what do you measure? And finally, implementation of this Church Missions handbook, even if you're not in church leadership or somehow related to the missions team or a person who has a specific agenda to help the missions team to be able to do this, I still encourage you to listen to this because it should be informative for you and your heart in mind, but also you are an influencer among other Christians that you fellowship with. You have a role in helping them understand things biblically and practically for the better functioning of missions ministry in whatever church you and they may be a part of.
Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? I would encourage you to ask questions or comments by sending me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please subscribe or follow Missions on Point podcast and tell others about it. Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites at propempo.com and missioserve.org. We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
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