Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Missions and Evangelism

Many individuals within the church have an erroneous view of what actually constitutes missions and/or evangelism. These people have attempted to split hairs by trying to make a distinction between missions and evangelism. The fact is, missions and evangelism are two sides of the exact same coin.

When you inform these people that missions must first begin in your home town and then expand from there, these people try arguing that missions involves "being sent" whereas evangelism involves your home town, place of work, etc. The problem with their logic and what they have learned or been taught is that no matter where you are, when you witness the Gospel to others for Christ, you are engaged in evangelism. Missions is your destination while evangelism is the work you do while there. The two are inseparable.

If these people's semantics are true, where do we draw the line between the two? To what extent does "being sent" apply? What constitutes "being sent"? Does it only apply to going to another country? Especially one with tropical weather? Or where our money turns into a fortune and we can live like kings in our new environment without actually demonstrating the Gospel and following in Jesus', and the Apostles', footsteps? If we look in the Bible, we will see that their "being sent" first involved their own province, followed by every area of the Roman Empire, and then extending outside that empire to the rest of the world.

If you live in Canada, what constitutes "being sent"? Too many people have this erroneous idea that "being sent" is strictly and solely about going to another country; somewhere that is not Canada or the United States. I hate to burst your bubble and give you a taste of reality, but "being sent" includes being sent to another town or city within your own province, as well as being sent to another province in your own country. If you live in Clinton, Ontario, Canada, you are a missionary if you are sent by your church to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, or if you are sent to Manitoba or Alberta or Nova Scotia.

Until we get a proper view of missions, we are going to continually err and ignore where it is needed the most. We think other countries are in desperate need of the Gospel, whereas if we would open our eyes and look around, our own country is in desperate need of it. But God forbid we should "go" to our own countrymen and evangelize them with the Gospel. Better to go to a tropical climate and maximize our exchange rate so we can live like kings and exhibit very little of the Gospel to the people we claim we are trying to reach. Sure, we will pass out tracts and try to talk to them about Jesus, but by our living as kings in these foreign lands we will silently convey to them the false gospel of prosperity. Seems to me that when Jesus and the Apostles went on missions, they were not "living it up" where they went. Why is it people today think that is a requirement for missions?

Missions involves being sent, but not to the extent people have ignorantly assumed in recent years. Like we see in the Bible, missions involves being sent to cities, towns and villages in your own province or state; being sent to other provinces or states within your own country, and then being sent to other countries. What you do when you are sent to these places is evangelize. You are a missionary if you stay home and evangelize those around you, and you are a missionary if you go to Africa to evangelize. The two are one in the same and cannot be separated from each other.