How can preachers and Bible teachers help Christians grasp the scale of God’s plan for the world? We believe this a key part of the whole message of the Bible and isn’t found only in the Great Commission in Matthew 28. We asked some seasoned preachers in OMF to share their tips for preaching on mission from the whole Bible:
1. Ask good questions
‘”Whatever your subject, my missionary vision is enlarged when you speak.” said a Christian student worker.’
I believe that the whole of Scripture is the story of God’s missionary burden and of his willingness to work through people like us. Consequently, I agree to preach on any subject I am given, certain that it will not be difficult to find the missionary dimension there.
The goal in preaching anywhere is to persuade people to agree with God’s truth, to understand how it works, to do what God wants and so to be blessed. After the groundwork of exegesis, I ask missionary questions to help me interact and apply vividly and relevantly
• Where in the world is this easier to understand?
• Where in the world have I seen this work?
• Where in the world is this difficult to accept?
• Why in the world was this written down for us here and them there?
Missionary material thus becomes part of everyday preaching, a normal part of life, a good way to learn. And the missionary call slips in almost unnoticed!
I used to find most of my answers from widespread international ministry. As an older, less mobile person, I learn much that illustrates God’s truth from internationals in Britain, from missionaries, from the television news, books and the internet.
Our missionary experience should not be used to manipulate people to bless us. Such selfish goals make deputation a thankless chore. Our stories and wider experiences are God-given to help us bring blessing and understanding to people. That is how we should use them. It is fulfilling – and often, to my delight and surprise, results in people being mobilised for mission.’
Dick Dowsett, author and OMF speaker
2. Remember the Old Testament
‘If I did have a tip for preachers it would be – not to forget the Old Testament when it comes to preaching on mission. After all, that’s what Paul and the early church had, and that was the text (a rather large text) that Jesus used to unpack “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” to the disciples in Luke 24: 45-49.’
Peter Rowan OMF UK National Director
‘I’ve preached more than once on why the apostles didn’t appeal to the great commission when they preached on mission: mission pervades the Old Testament, and they appealed to various Old Testament passages instead. In Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13), Paul chooses Isaiah 49:6 for his authority, rather than the Great Commission or his own personal commissioning by Christ – because the plan, God’s plan, always was to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’
Mark Sinclair OMF UK Mobiliser
3. Look for it in every book
‘I believe that the way mission should be tackled is in its proper context of the preaching ministry of the church. I believe that Missions can be preached from almost every book of the Bible. There are two reasons for this. First we have a God who is concerned for the salvation of all people from every culture and nation. Secondly, in different ways, in every book of the Bible we are dealing with a cross-cultural situation, either within the book or in our own interaction with it.’
Ray Porter Director of World Mission Studies, Oak Hill College