We're down to 50 days to go.

 

On September 20, 2016 I have the incredible privilege of leading a team to Australia on a 14 day mission experience. This is the first time I've been on a mission trip... and obviously therefore the first time I've led a trip too. It's a little nervy, but also incredibly exciting to be a part of! But while in some ways I'm feeling a little under-qualified to lead a team of international missionaries, I'm fully confident in my belief that as a Christian, your life is a "mission."

 

The Bible says in Mark 16 that Jesus tells his followers to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15). And it is repeated probably more famously in Matthew 28 for the disciples to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20a). These passages summarize the call of all followers of Jesus Christ. And while this calling looks unique for every person, the challenge is there for all of us to wrestle with what that looks like in our own little world.

 

So how are we as individual followers of Jesus Christ expected to tackle this mission?

 

Many of you will instantly say, "I'm not a missionary. I don't want to give up all my possessions and be sent to the other side of the world. I'm not trained to preach...and I certainly don't think I can teach the Bible to others. So therefore this calling just doesn't apply to me."

 

Somehow I don't think that's an excuse that'll fly when we stand before Jesus in the final judgement. 

 

As a Christian, your life is a "mission."

 

I say that because I think you can break our Christian call to live a life of mission in these two passages down into three simple commands that we can all do on some level: Go. Preach. Disciple.

 

1. Go

"Going" in its simplest form is "moving somewhere." It is the opposite of standing still. It doesn't necessarily have a specific direction to move to.... but it isn't staying where you currently are. 

 

When people think of Jesus' call for us to "go" they automatically think about selling all their possessions and moving the family to far reaching locations of the earth. But that isn't necessarily the case - at least for some of us. To "go" means move somewhere away from where you are presently located. This means that "going" can be as simple as the local grocery store, shopping center, park, or even your neighbor's front yard. When it comes to Jesus' call to "go" we only need to look as far as where we normally frequent, and search out ways to bring both Jesus' presence and Jesus' words into that environment.

 

Going into all the world doesn't have to look like the traveling to the ends of the world, perhaps it can be carrying Jesus beyond the end of your driveway and see where He leads you. It's something we can all do. 

 

To live a life on mission we must take seriously Jesus' calls for us all to "go" and not remain stagnant where we are. Where can you go into your world and bring Jesus with you?

 

2. Preach

In Mark 16 we see that Jesus calls us to "preach the Gospel to all Creation." When we hear the word "preach" it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that that's only for the Pastors, Evangelists or gifted speakers who stand in a pulpit on Sundays. Or we think of those who stand on street corners shouting messages of hell, fire and brimstone to every passerby. 

 

However preaching the Gospel is simply sharing the Good News and personal hope you have in Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. It doesn't need to be filled with fancy spiritual words delivered from a platform... it is just heartfelt truths about who Jesus is to you, what He has done for you, and how this same experience of loving compassion, forgiveness and peace is available to them just as it has been for you. And when you find that you "preach" in this manner, people relate to your story and choose to surrender their heart to follow Jesus just like you did. 

 

We can all "preach the Gospel" when we start viewing each conversation as an opportunity to simply share about the impact the love of Jesus has had in and through your life. 

 

If we want to life on mission we need to take Jesus' call seriously to "preach the Gospel to all creation." Who have you shared the love of Jesus with today? How can you make use of each opportunity to bring Jesus into your everyday conversations?

 

3. Disciple

It doesn't surprise me at all that following the "going" and the "preaching" comes a need for "discipling." It seems the more that we are deliberate in taking Jesus with us wherever our daily routine requires us to go and sharing about our experience with Jesus in a non-threatening relational way, then more people will begin to follow Jesus. Many of these new converts to following Jesus choose to be baptized and then seek to learn as much about their new Savior as they can. 

 

The journey of walking alongside someone as they grow in spiritual maturity is called discipleship. This essentially entails both bringing a new believer into the Christian community through baptism, and teaching or training a new believer in understanding who Jesus is and what this life-long journey of following Him looks like. We see both aspects of discipleship expressed in Mark 16 and Matthew 28 immediately following the call to "go" and the call to "preach the Gospel."

 

I believe we all have the ability to answer the call of Jesus to disciple new believers because all of us have the ability to walk alongside someone as they journey through the discovery of meeting Jesus for the first time. Each follower of Jesus has already begun that personal relationship with Him, so all Christians have an experience of what it is like when you are new to the faith and beliefs. We are all uniquely qualified to disciple new believers as we bring them into Christian community and teach them what we know (even if it is not a lot!).

 

If we want to live a life on mission, we need to take serious Jesus' call for us to "disciple" new believers through the journey of baptism and discovering more about Jesus. Who is in your world that you can walk the journey of faith alongside? Who do you need to encourage to enter into the community of faith through baptism?

 

 

Missions is not something that only a privileged few are called and expected to do... it is something we are all called into as a follower of Jesus Christ. You don't need to go across the world to do it. You don't need to be particularly special or super-spiritual to do it. And you don't need a Bible degree to do it. You just need to be prepared to reach out into your world for Jesus Christ. Live a life that is prepared to say "yes" to following Jesus wherever He asks you to go, sharing the story of Jesus' love for all creation, coming alongside people and lovingly bringing them into a compassionate Christian community. This is missions. This is what Jesus called us to do and who we must be as His followers. 

 

Living a life "on mission" can be boiled down to three simple commands we can all follow on some level - Go. Preach. Disciple.

 

It wasn't that long ago that I considered myself one of those people who would say, "I'm not a missionary." I now know in my heart as a follower of Jesus Christ that I have no choice in the matter - I am called to live a missional lifestyle that seeks out opportunities to speak, serve, love and teach people about Jesus in a way that draws them to His grace and mercy to which I have received in my own life. Being "on mission" is not a short-term thing or a one-off thing... it's an every day thing. Being "on mission" is who I am. 

 

Everybody can be a missionary. Are your ready to accept Jesus' calling?

 

Missions is not something that only a privileged few are called to be a part of. Missions is something that every follower of Jesus Christ is expected to take part in.



Before I finish up, I feel the need to answer a question that I'm sure you're all wondering - "Why are you taking a team on a mission trip to Australia?"

 

It's true that Australia is not a third-world country with residents in need of basic housing, clean water, health care or sanitation. It's true that Australia doesn't suffer from major financial need and crippling cycles of generational poverty or economic degeneration of natural resources. And it's true that Australia has a number of large churches doing amazing Kingdom-based ministry reaching thousands of people a year. But that's not why this team is heading over to Australia...

 

According to 2011 research, only 8% of Australians attend church regularly (at least once a month). Over the past four decades, church attendance has decreased 48%, with a 269% increase in the number of people who claim "no religion." In the recent census "no religion" was the second largest faith category at 22% (only behind Catholic at 25%), with 50% of the "no religion" category compromising of those under the age of 30. There is a new generation of young Australian men and women that need to hear the Gospel, and we are excited to go minister to and equip the local churches and missionaries in this area of the world.

 

We are heading to Australia to help reach this next generation and connect them to Christ through local churches and missionaries on the ground in the region.

 

Our mission trip will be focusing on building, equipping and encouraging the Church in Australia, South-East Asia and around the South Pacific in three ways:

  1. Lead worship at local church gatherings at HumeRidge Church of Christ and St Stephen's Uniting Church in my hometown of Toowoomba. 
  2. Help lead worship and informative sessions at a young adult conference designed to empower the next generation - L10 Conference.
  3. And helping to provide some R&R and spiritual encouragement to Crosspoint missionaries serving on the ground in locations across the South Pacific and South-East Asia by using Australia as a "home base" where they can all meet at the one location.

 

For more information about the mission trip to Australia and to keep abreast of all the news while we are overseas, please jump onto Crosspoint Mission webpage or Facebook for all the details. Take a moment to hear Matt Ayars, President of Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti, preach on "calling" at Crosspoint, Niceville campus Missions Conference this past weekend. Also, you can see all the excitement of L10 Conference through their Facebook page.

 

What are some of your stories about the mission adventures you have experienced? How do you live a lifestyle that is "on mission" in your everyday life?

Published by Jeremy Thiess