What is Missions?

The words “mission”, “missions”, and “missionary” in English come from the Latin form of “to send” (mission). Its basic meaning is "to send," as in to send out or away, or "to be sent." The common New Testament word for the original Greek form of this word is apostelo = αποστελω (to send) and “apostle” – a sent one. While we sometimes refer to the original Twelve disciples as the Apostles, referring to their unique office and title, the word basically means a "sent out one." In application to today, the gifting of an apostolic missionary (with a lower case “a” as a function) can be seen in those qualified men who are approved by a local church and sent out to do evangelism, discipleship, and church planting in another culture.

“Missions,” in biblical Christian understanding, is evangelism and church planting that involves going (Matthew 28:19; John 15:16) into another culture and learning that culture and language, in order to preach the gospel to them, make disciples and teach them the Bible. This is distinguished from evangelism, which is preaching the gospel to anyone, people who are in our own culture and already speak our language.
Missions involves not only “going” – Matthew 28:19, John 15:16, but sending. The New Testament describes local churches as the key agent of God's work in the world to raise up, approve, and send out qualified workers to the "harvest" fields of missions. For example, Paul and Barnabas first served in the local church in Antioch (Acts 11:26) and were confirmed and appointed and sent out by a local church. (see Acts 13:1-4)
Modern times have also seen the birth of many facilitative missions agencies, which focus on a specific region or target demographic or specialized ministry.