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Why We Do Missions

July 1, 2019
by Gary Roedding

Holding a smiling child at Moria Refugee Camp in GreeceWhen my daughters were young, the question, “Why?” was often a part of our conversation. Anyone with young children or grandchildren can certainly relate. However, as we consider the unreached – whether talking about the 10/40 window or the 2% or the 1900 – I think why is a valid question.

The western evangelical church has been at this a long time. Jesus gave the Great Commission more than two thousand years ago. The modern mission movement launched in the 1790’s and Reach Beyond/HCJB began in 1931. Why keep going? Why be concerned with those who haven’t yet heard the Gospel of Jesus?

There are many valid reasons to continue pursuing world evangelism. The Bible tells us there is only one name by which people can be saved, so without the message of Christ there is no hope for people to know God’s gift of eternal life. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, and Paul encourages us to be witnesses, setting a personal example of taking the message of life into new areas and to new peoples.

As followers of Christ, we have been entrusted with hope and a message of Good News, and it would be selfish to keep it to ourselves. But although all these reasons are true, good and important, they are not the ultimate reason to “be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.”
The ultimate reason and goal for missions is the declaration of the glory of God by reconciled believers of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

From the call of Abraham in Genesis to the amazing scene before God’s throne in Revelation, God’s desire is for his name to be exalted universally. Psalm 96:2-3 (NIV) states, “Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” The focus is God: His name, His salvation, His glory, His deeds.

John Piper, in his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, writes, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”

The picture we are given in Revelation 7 is a scene of worshippers “from every nation, tribe, people and language” declaring the glory of God and the Lamb. The motivation for our mission isn’t church growth. The motivation for mission is to see God glorified and His name exalted.

By His grace and for His glory alone, we are worshippers and have a part in His plan to fill heaven with worshippers. Why do we want to reach the unreached? To proclaim His salvation and declare His glory among the nations until the whole earth is filled with redeemed worshippers of the one true God.

*This devotional first appeared in our online prayer guide, 50 Days of Prayer, Intentionally Praying for the Unreached Among Refugee Populations. Download the Guide from our website for more inspiration and prayer points.