By Chris Conti
Coordinator of Mobilization and Communication for SIM Latin America
We have to watch for misunderstandings as we mobilize others. Even with good intentions, what we have in our mind as we use a word might not be what the listener understands.
For example, we might say “missions” and mean “the actions or activities that express God’s mission of being disciples and making disciples.” However, the listener in the pew hears the word “missions” and immediately defines it as “something young people from the church will travel to do one week a year.”
We need to mobilize and commission EVERY believer to the mission task. However, too often we unintentionally limit mission involvement through our teaching. Church members, then, will only see themselves in a small part of the Great Commission.
We might unintentionally limit God’s mission as something:
· Exclusively toward the unreached areas of the world
· Exclusively for local work
· Only for young people
· Only to help the poor
· That can be done in a couple weeks each year
· We give and pray to send others to do
Some great pastors and missionaries have taught that “if you are not called to go, you are called to give and pray for those sent,” but this is not completely true.
Yes, we are called to give and pray but we are also all called to go— not only to the unreached areas of the world but called to leave our comfort zones and live our faith outside the four walls of the church.
GO is to go to your job and be a witness for Christ. GO is to be an intentional light in our community where we live. God has “sent” every child of His to represent Him, and we need to help mobilize them to realize that they can be salt and light where they are.
Every Christian is called. However, this does not mean everyone will get on a plane to Asia. This calling is going to look different for each person, and this is why we need to personalize our mobilization as we personalize discipleship.
We need to walk with them to help them discover all the ways that they can serve God in the Great Commission, both where they live life every day and how they can be part of the work globally too.
True Discipleship is Part of Mobilization
Real discipleship is more than a program; it is a relationship that causes growth. Real discipleship is not just teaching the Bible but showing others how to apply the Bible to their daily lives. True discipleship includes mobilization.
As we walk with each believer, we help them have the tools they need to walk faithfully as well as to reach others for Christ. God’s mission should affect how we live intentionally every day.
Discipleship should include teaching and encouraging others to serve God with their daily decisions, with the way that they treat people, with their opportunities to share Christ with others.
Commissioning of EVERY Believer
Some churches have a sign near the door that you can’t miss as you walk out that says that you are now entering your mission field. This is a great idea, and if taught well, even better! We need to mobilize and “send” every believer.
Of course, we still need to send mission workers into the least reached areas of the world, but we also need to send all Christians into the places their lives touch daily.
Can you imagine having a commissioning service at church, not only to send out new workers to far away mission fields, but to also “send” our church members to be salt and light in their workplaces and communities?
One Sunday, maybe after a sermon related to business, the pastor could ask everyone working in the business field to come forward. The church leaders would lay hands on them and “send” them to be salt and light in their workplace. A Christian businessman could share his testimony.
Another Sunday, maybe before the start of the school year, they could commission all teachers. Even better if one or two teachers could share testimonies about how God has used them in the classroom.
Another Sunday, maybe with a sermon on Paul as a tentmaker, they could commission those who work with their hands, praying that God would use them in the lives of their customers and co-workers.
Another Sunday, it could be moms, or university students, or retirees! Little by little, this will empower and challenge EVERY member of the church to live life on mission in an intentional way.
Daily Involvement Leads to Global Involvement
Those who once thought that Missions Sunday only meant an emotional push for their money, now will know that Missions Sunday includes their call to give, pray and, yes, GO! As church members live on mission locally, they are more likely to be interested in being part of what God is doing globally.
We have interviewed more than 1000 pastors in Latin America, and they often say that overall involvement increases when their whole church lives out its global purpose.
When church members are doing personal evangelism, they are more likely to understand the need to share Christ on the other side of the world. As they see the church serious about giving toward mission, they will be more interested in giving to the church as well as giving globally. They will see their offering in action.
Let’s stop limiting mission involvement! Let’s evaluate how we mobilize. Let’s watch out for any part of the Great Commission that is misunderstood, and let’s disciple all believers into a dynamic relationship with the One who calls us all to pray, give, and GO!