Missions Defined

by Bob Gerow

"Define your terms!"

I first heard this admonition in college. The instructor was Walter Martin. The urgency of his charge was bolstered by his experience dealing with non-Christian belief systems. "Unless we make clear what the terms we use mean, we can make endless wrong assumptions. We can even sound like we agree!"

Dr. Martin was dealing with the cults, but his admonition also bears on our own familiar terminology. For example:

When you hear, or use the terms, "Missions" or "Great Commission," to what are you referring? Is "Missions" only something that goes on "over there?" Does fulfilling the Great Commission have anything to do with living your life where you are? Do your congregants, students, or parishioners know what you mean, or do they have their own different "understanding" of the terms?

When Christ told us, "As you go, make disciples" (Matt. 28:19a esv), He implied that our very lives-our lifestyle, if you please-would bear witness, and that our overriding objective would be to draw and grow others into maturing membership in the Body. In that setting, what we speak is a natural and expected expression of who we are. Being "fishers of men" means getting into the net and inviting others to join us in a noble calling.

How is that done?

Paul the Apostle rightly comes to mind as a missionary statesman. He heard God's call on his life to "head out" and he did. His experience and ministry have defined what we customarily think of as "Christian Missions."

Many other believers in New Testament times went less willingly but nevertheless ended up as disciple-makers. Some wryly noted that these followers of The Way have turned the world upside down. How did they do it? Persecution scattered them far and wide. As they moved in search of safety, their lifestyle as Christ-followers did not dim. Their own discipleship prompted inquiry, amazement, and the interest of others. "As they went," they were disciple-makers.

At AMG International, we are increasingly preoccupied with our calling to make disciples. As we grow in our own walk with God, we search for ways to invite others to join the great company of which we are a part.

To help do that, we have launched a new ministry venture, called Mission Advance.

The concept is simple. The impact can be widespread. Brief radio messages will tell the story of what God is doing around the world, and challenge listeners to find ways to be part of disciple making "as we go."

What can you expect?

We want you to be amazed at how God uses seemingly insignificant people and events to make a huge difference.

We want you to be so impressed that you take up the challenge to the part God has appointed for YOU in fulfilling the call to, "As you go, make disciples!"

Bob Gerow is development administrator for AMG International

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