In much of the church, the words "missions" and "missionary" have been used to refer to a select group of people who were being sent to foreign lands to take the gospel to unreached people. In recent years these words, along with the term "missional," have come to describe a needed shift in both our purpose and our paradigm for ministry.
Missional living in Christianity is often described as "the adoption of the posture, thinking, behaviors and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the gospel message." Dictionary.com defines mission as an "important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation, a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose."
My search for the word "sent" in the New Testament produced more than 198 references. Most referred to our God as one who sends: John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples, the Holy Spirit, the church.
Missiologist David Bosch writes: "Mission was understood as being derived from the very nature of God ... Father, Son and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world ... a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. ... There is a church because there is a mission, not vice versa" (Sentness: Six Postures Of Missional Christians by Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw, IVP Books).
Our God is a missionary God motivated by love for the world.
Our theme for 2015 is "Sent." Our desire is that we will collectively commit ourselves as The Foursquare Church to be a sent people, reflecting the Incarnate One, God with us.
Sentness defines current reality in this manner: "There are two competing postures for the people of God today: a church of consumers, demanding goods and services, and a church of missionaries, sent and sending into the world. These compete for the minds of Christians."
As we begin this new year, I hope you will join me in in the following prayer:
Father, search our hearts and ways. Realign our thinking, lifestyles and service to be about what You are already actively doing in our world. May we be missionaries of Your gospel, whether You send us across the street or across the ocean. Jesus, in our going may we truly be with people as You were, embodying and proclaiming the good news of grace and love for all.
How You Can Pray
In what ways can you focus your actions to be more mission-oriented? Meditate on what being "sent" means to you in your church, and ask God to give you an open spirit and a willing heart in the coming year.
Reprinted with permission from The Foursquare Church. Tammy Dunahoo is the vice president of U.S. operations and general supervisor for The Foursquare Church.
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