Many of you reading this are living alongside us in a post-Christian Western culture. One where the term evangelism is a bit outdated and to be missional is in vogue. Europe and North America have become more and more like a mission field—but a post-Christian, rather than pre-Christian field. We now need a more missions-like engagement even on battleground here on the home front.
There are pros and cons to the missional mindset. Our churches must pursue mission among our own people. There is always an intensifying need for the gospel around us. The danger is focusing exclusively on this to the neglect of the nations.
We can’t be truly missional without preserving a place for, and giving priority to, the pursuit of the unreached. It doesn’t matter how much a church may say that it is being missional; it is not fully missional in the biblical sense if it is not both pursuing mission at home among native reached people and being an engaged sender in support of missionaries to the unreached.
What does this mean?
It means that there will be suffering. The Great Commission is a call for martyrs. Suffering is not only the consequence of completing the commission, but it is God’s appointed means by which he will show the superior worth of his Son to all the peoples.
It means that Jesus will be with you. At the border of a closed country, in the learning of a new language, in the disorientation of a new culture, in speaking the gospel when your hearers may turn on you, in persecution, in jail—he will be with you.
We are in a unique place in history. The gospel has already been accomplished in the work of Christ. Now, God has widened his scope, so to speak, to all the nations and inaugurated the Spirit-empowered age of go and tell—or better yet, go and disciple.
This commission will not fail. God’s pursuit of his glory makes the cause of missions unstoppable.
Content modified from "Missions" (Chapter 18) by David Mathis in Don’t Call It a Comeback (Kevin DeYoung, ed.). Don’t Call It a Comeback takes a new look at the relevance and theological foundations of Christian orthodoxy and evangelicalism. Download a sample chapter or learn more.