Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thinking Like a Missionary

From David Paul Door:
Our church gives 100% of its budget to missions. That’s because our church is a mission.

Staff salaries are mission. Benevolence (our fund to support those who are in need financially) is about missions. Paying the rent, again, missions.

And why shouldn’t we think of church in America like this? Are we still under the assumption that we are the chaplains to our culture, to use Ed Stetzer’s apt illustration? We are missionaries. We are not at home, even in our home country. We don’t share similar world views with people outside of the body of Christ.

It’s hard to think like missionaries. It is not intuitive to see the world where WE LIVE as missions. After all, it’s home. We speak the same language, we wear similar clothes, listen to similar music. But we have forgotten, or maybe never learned, that we are really different. This culture doesn’t share similar assumptions about God, man, justice, love, righteousness, etc. We don’t have a common language anymore for these concepts.

So we must adapt, just like a missionary would. No missionary would think that the culture where they are sent has to adapt to the missionary’s cultural norms. The missionary, if they are worth anything, seeks to understand the culture and then find creative ways to communicate the gospel in a way that the people will understand.

All of this is rooted in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. If we are to walk as He walked, then we need to be a missionary like He was; a missionary that did not look to his own interests, but the interests of others. The Son of God came in a way we could understand. He laid aside His rights as God to reach us — why should we not do the same?

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