“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” John Piper accurately brings the truth of missions in this quote. Because worship is eternal and the Bible tells us that people from every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship the Lord, missions is temporary on this earth. In this paper, I will explain six axioms of missions that are crucial to understand to rightly understand missions.
First, the primary issue is not missions, the primary issue is knowing God. People who have been changed by the power of the gospel will have a right perspective on missions because they will see the need for sharing the gospel with the nations. As people passionately live out their faith, others will see it and want it, and because God won’t hold truth back from them, they’ll receive Christ and the cycle starts over again. Knowing God and growing in the gospel should characterize the life of a Christian, only then will missions be effective.
Second, missions is more about God than it is about men. Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, and William Carey are a few of the great missionaries of the Christian faith. All these men gave their lives not for themselves, but for the sake of His name that He would be made known in all the nations. Instead of missions becoming about the greatness of the missionary, it ought to be about the greatness of our God.
Third, missions is overflow. When a person has something incredible happen to him, it is only natural that he wants to share his experience with others. The same is true when a person is changed by the gospel of Jesus. How selfish of someone to hold back life-changing news! Missions will happen when a person is consumed with knowing God and being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the natural overflow of the heart.
Fourth, a missionary is an initiator. A missionary is one who brings the Good News of the gospel to a certain group of people. He initiates the work of the gospel, finds and trains the nationals to reach the core group of the people, and then he goes to repeat the cycle somewhere else. The nationals are the ones who can best reach their own people. Therefore, it makes sense for the missionary to invest in the lives of a few nationals that are able then to better reach the city or village.
Fifth, the principle activity of missions is discipleship. One of the things that is neglected to notice from the Great Commission is the fact that Jesus commands His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations . . .” That second part of the command is important to apply to missions. Making disciples is the most important part of spreading the Kingdom of God. By this, people are evangelized, converted and then taught the Scriptures, and then are able to function as a church to further the Kingdom and worship the Savior.
Sixth, the Holy Spirit is the authoritative Agent in missions. It is the Holy Spirit who directs, restrains, calls and sends the missionary. He is the one who has the authority to send people to reach those who are lost. He is the one who works in and changes a heart. The power of missions comes from the work of the Holy Spirit. It is Him we ought to rely on for power, not ourselves.
Most importantly though, is the fact that everyone is a missionary. Once a Christian realizes this, it has great implications on his life. His entire life should be one that is spent sharing what has happened to him by being changed by the power of the gospel. Through people passionately living their faith out, sharing what Jesus has done in their lives and by making disciples out of converts; the gospel has the power to change the world. And it starts with you making the decision today to initiate conversations with the lost.