What are the concept and the goals of Christian missions?
Christian missions is an intentional effort to lead others to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is the primary task given to believers by Jesus, and all believers are charged to participate.
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The word "mission" comes from the word "to send," and most Christians who are involved in full-time missions are sent to another location. All missions include the idea of leaving the comfort of the fellowship of other believers to engage with those who do not know Christ. This may be across town or on the other side of the globe.
Christian missions began with Jesus' Great Commission, wherein He told the disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19-20). Based on this, missions has two main goals. The first is to "make disciples." A disciple is a person who learns from and strives to emulate another. Christian missions entails teaching others the truth about Jesus, showing them their need for Jesus, and, once the Holy Spirit has drawn them, encouraging them to live according to Jesus' teachings. The second goal is baptism. Baptism does not save, but it is a public demonstration that a new believer has left the old life and joined the church. We must not only follow Jesus, we must be identified culturally as one who follows Him.
Missions was always to be a part of the Christian life. The first Christian missionary may be said to be John the Baptist, who proclaimed to people their need of Jesus (John 1:26-31). Shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples helped lead 3000 Jews to a saving faith in Him (Acts 2). Christianity then spread to Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, India, Italy, Tunisia, and France. By 197 AD, North Africa was covered, and a year later, the first missionaries arrived in Japan. Christian missions continues today; GotQuestions.org, the parent organization of Compelling Truth, has gospel presentations in 146 languages with plans to add more.
The way in which Christian missions spreads the gospel is different for every culture, even though the message is the same. To some degree, the method must be specific to the hearers. Different degrees of education, sophistication, and familiarity with Christian concepts will influence how the gospel can be shared.
But the core message is the same. God is perfect and holy. We cannot please Him because of our sin. We deserve death and eternal separation from God. We need someone who can earn forgiveness for us. That person is Jesus—God and sinless man—who died for our sins and rose again. If we entrust ourselves to Jesus, He will speak for us to God, and we will spend eternity in paradise (John 3:16).
Every Christian is called to missions in their own lives. Jesus charges all of us to reach others with His message. It is not easy, but as we learn to love people like God does, we find sharing the truth about God essential to the Christian life.
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