What We Mean by “Mission Mobilization?”

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Roughly one-third of the world’s population is still in the category of unreached people groups, having too small of an indigenous Church to adequately reach their own people. Usually where 2% or less of the ethnic group population are followers of Jesus. For the most part this is unchanged from 30 years ago. It is common to ascribe reasons for this as the difficulty of the peoples themselves, opposition to the Gospel, lack of finance and more. Yet there is much more to why still so many peoples remain unreached. A core reason is a general neglect of the global Church’s engagement of its own (mission mobilization) in global mission, relegating mission to just a professional few (traditionally from a Western background). We will never achieve Jesus’ purpose until we align ourselves with God’s ways revealed in Scripture.

I am convinced breakthrough is on the horizon among the nations as the global Church correctly engages with mission mobilization. The global body of Christ is on the cusp of an explosion of focused mission mobilization across denominations, organizations and individual local ministries. More mobilization-focused ministries, courses and tools have sprung up globally in the last decade than ever before in history. A mission mobilization emphasis appears to be accelerating globally, and will culminate with time in the global Church walking in her core identity as God’s missionary people.

Yet on the surface the mission movement looks a bit stale. Numbers of long-term workers from traditional sending nations continue to dwindle while emerging sending nations seem unsure how to effectively become involved. Discipling all ethnic groups, multiplying culturally relevant simple churches, millions reconciled to God in Christ, the global Church coming into faith and obedience – in essence the whole Great Commission mandate – stands at a crossroads today. Never has a clear mission mobilization vision been more necessary across the global Church – a vision rooted squarely in Biblical revelation.

What comes to mind when you or your local ministry think of mission mobilization? For many, images of recruiting individual international workers for a Christian or mission organization are predominant. For others, speaking to a group about missions. Still others imagine a mission conference, or mission education course, where they hear a challenge to reach the nations. Another, thinks of a short-term trip. Still more see it equivalent to encouraging nearby village evangelism. To others, mission mobilization is a periodic prayer session in their ministry for the lost.

While none of these are wrong notions of mission mobilization, they are incomplete and insufficient, producing a skewed understanding. Across the board, the body of Christ has missed the mark of embracing a clear, comprehensive, wholistic, Biblically-based vision of mission mobilization. At worst neglecting it altogether and at best minimizing it, to the detriment of Jesus’ Great Commission across the earth.

What if each of these individual activities (and many more) were but a small slice of a much broader, comprehensive paradigm on mission mobilization Jesus was motivating His Church to embrace? What if mission mobilization referred to calling the whole global Church (every disciple and every local ministry), not just a few people, to walking out her core identity (imparted by the Spirit through the birth of the Church at Pentecost) as God’s “message bearing people,” even if they never leave their hometown?

What if mission mobilization referred to every local ministry (no matter how big or small) systematically educating, inspiring and activating their members in the Great Commission? What if, like Paul, all church, denominational, network and organizational leaders saw a portion of their leadership role as a mission mobilizer (in a broad sense)? To use Paul’s five-fold ministry roles in Ephesians 4:11; this means an apostle-mobilizer, a teacher-mobilizer, a prophet-mobilizer, an evangelist-mobilizer, a pastor-mobilizer. Leaders across ministry structures seeing their leadership role (however big or small) as simultaneously contributing to the implied mission mobilization of the Church at large.

What if mission mobilization was viewed at the core of true discipleship, not subsequent, or worse yet peripheral to it, so common now? What if mission mobilization enabled every local ministry to know the story they are part of – seeing the grand narrative of the Bible (redemption for all humanity), from beginning to end. Recognizing their part in the age-old story and purpose of God. What if mission mobilization envisioned every local ministry to send (thrust out, scatter, relocate) at least 20% of its members to start Bible studies leading to simple churches among unreached peoples in both near and distant cultures?

What if instead of challenging believers to simply “GO,” mission mobilization helped the Church emphasize Jesus’ Biblical, Spirit-led priorities toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission? Instead of “everything being missions,” the Church prioritizing the multiplying of church planting movements which ignite people movements to Christ among all unreached people groups as the Biblical and historical norm of the Kingdom of God spreading among the nations?

A definition of this comprehensive perspective on mission mobilization is the strategic process through which the global body of Christ is empowered by the Spirit of God to emphasize the message, vision and strategies of the Great Commission, within every local ministry in every nation, activating every disciple in their assigned roles, toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.

A common mistake in mission mobilization has been viewing it predominantly as a verb instead of a noun. A verb describes an action, occurrence or state of being while a noun refers to a person, place or thing. While mission mobilization includes the action of “mobilizing” and its’ accompanying activities, in its broader sense mission mobilization is a distinct category of ministry within the global church. Mission mobilization, when grasped correctly, is its own entity, a committed discipline (or field) of focus within the mission movement. Needing deep thinking, theologizing and Spirit-led, Biblically derived teaching, training, tools and strategies.

As an entity, mission mobilization is the overlooked core of the mission movement. Without mission mobilization implemented as intended in the heart of God, global mission cannot accomplish all God desires. Maintaining current mission mobilization paradigms will not enable us to see the whole Church effectively mobilized and equipped for her primary purpose.

Because many mission mobilization efforts have historically derived from western cultures, the individual recruitment emphasis has become normalized. Western cultures generally see the world through individualistic lenses while non-western, majority world cultures see the world through a communal, collectivist lens. Mission mobilization has thus generally bought into an individualistic recruiting approach instead of empowering the whole Church with a communal mission mobilization approach. Engaging individual local ministries toward emphasizing Jesus’ glory on earth and His culminating purpose in this age – the Fulfillment of the Great Commission.

GMMI (along with many mission mobilization ministries springing up internationally) is committed to helping equip the Church for this kind of mission mobilization. The Lord has led GMMI (formerly SVM2) over almost twenty years to develop cutting edge resources, tools, trainings and strategies to equip the Church for mission mobilization. This includes focused mission mobilization strategies within a local ministry and across ministry structures (denominations, networks, organizations) within national church contexts. Explore the GMMI website, considering practical ways you and your local ministry can be equipped for comprehensive mission mobilization among your spheres of ministry. We look forward to
serving you.

2 thoughts on “What We Mean by “Mission Mobilization?””

  1. Finally I read a reasonable way to understand missions from a more biblical perspective. You have no idea how much the individualistic and simplistic mobilization movement of the western church has created great obstacles for the new emerging mission movement to grow and develop and sustain indigenous initiatives. I was leading one of those that, finally stop growing as the multitude of “mobilizers” stole our opportunity to develop a more authentic, more biblical and more contextualized missions movement. Too late for us, but we hope there will still be opportunities for others.

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