When we set agendas in accordance with human preferences and interests, the idea that we either have, or obey, a Great Commission is belied. When we redefine mission so as to encompass anything and everything the church and believers actually do, or even ought to do, we surrender the distinctive priorities of the Christian mission and risk assignment of the word to the terminological dustbin.
— David Hesselgrave
There are many activities the church can get involved that garner public approval and applause. Missions and evangelism are not these activities. Most people are not fans of attempts to make disciples or win them to Christ. But what option do we really have? Who’s applause are we seeking?
American missiologist, David Hesselgrave, reminds us that we are in dangerous territory if we redefine “missions” in any way that does not reflect the priority of the Great Commission. This does not mean that other activities are unimportant, but our mission must be a reflection of the mission of God who loved the world so much that He gave His only Son. This love for sinful humanity is the fuel for missions. When we engage in these activities we are most clearly showing God’s love to the world.
God demonstrated his own love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
My God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, keep my mind from being distracted from your mission. There are so many voices and so many alternatives – help me stay the course and by doing so, to show the world your great love
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com