Mission is a Mindset
By Shireen Chua – Missions mobiliser for OMF NZ
The word “mission” may conjure up a variety of images for you. In the context of this Serving Asia magazine, it might have strong associations to reaching East Asia’s billions, missionaries, Hudson Taylor, friends and colleagues, or church planting. We fill words with meaning, through our experience, exposure and culture. It helps us to make sense of our world.
When I first heard about mission as a young Christian, I associated it with Africa… and the song by Scott Wesley Brown “Please don’t send me to Africa”. Whilst it had a humorous storyline and catchy tune, it also had some honest lyrics expressing fear and hesitance about “going” to Africa. It had two strong messages that stuck in my mind; missionaries are required to go to Africa where there are lions and jungles, and that mission is about going somewhere where we may not want to go. In the 20 years since hearing that song, I have learned that the context of global missions is changing and actually far bigger that I had imagined. Changing my perspective was about changing my mindset in so many ways.
God’s call to His church was to “go and make disciples” of all nations. The “go” in this is an active “go”, as in: “as you are going about life and work, make disciples of all nations.” It’s part of our “why” of being a follower of Jesus. Mission is a mindset; a lifestyle and a choice that you and I make everyday.
How this command is fulfilled in each our lives will look different. It is dependent on our unique gifts, talents, interests and life experiences and circumstances and also the changing face of mission. There is diversity and creativity in how we live out this call of God.
Missions history over the recent centuries has shown how the gospel was taken to Africa, India, China and to the ends of the earth through medical work and pioneer church planting. Today, however, globalisation, technology and the shift of Christianity to the Global South requires us to re-engage and grapple with what it means to be involved in God’s mission right now. How will we now participate in spreading the good news of Jesus and help people to become life-long disciples of him? The global diaspora means that reaching the nations may mean befriending international students or migrants next door. Playing our part in mission may also look different; God calls us to be senders, pray-ers and disciplers of others just as much as go-ers. We may be called to serve God through praying regularly for His workers and to raise awareness of how individuals and churches may play a part in his Great commission.
However we fulfill the Great Commission, it often hinges on the vocational call of God on our lives. This may lead us to serve Him in a way that may indeed require us to change locations. Having a global mindset helps us to be a blessing to others in every part of our lives. The call of God requires us to obey and follow Him. We obey him by taking steps and making choices to live out that call. Different seasons will see us live out that call differently. It also calls us to sacrificial living… And if going is not more spiritual than sending others, then sending should be no less sacrificial.
Having a missions mindset helps us to be attuned to God’s guidance for our lives. There will be seasons of challenge and joy and rest and action; each marking growth in our faith and maturity. Having a missions mindset frees us from being tied down to a role or a country. The call of God on each one of us remains the same as it was when Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, but that will look very different for each of us. May we all discover how we are to go and make disciples of all nations.
This article originally appeared in our December 2018/January 2019 edition of Serving Asia magazine. If you would like to sign up for more articles, stories and testimonies, enter your details below: