If you are unable to attend Friday night's Talent Show to support GRC's upcoming summer missions trip to Mexico, you can support our team by clicking here to make your tax-deductible contribution. Some may ask, why we'd host-or why you might want to attend Friday's talent show to benefit missions? Aside from a night of family fun, conversation and laughs, why bother? Why send a mission's team to Mexico? Why, for that matter, send any missionaries anywhere? If you've ever wondered such things, you are not alone. Many-even most, people today see no value in missions. Of those who do see value in missions, only humanitarian relief is considered legitimate.
Humanitarian relief efforts are important-part of Jesus' call for us to meet physical needs in his name. Yet, Walbert Buhlmann, a Catholic missions secretary in Rome, speaks for many mainline church leaders when he says, "In the past we had the so-called motive of saving souls. We were convinced that if not baptized, people in the masses would go to hell. Now, thanks be to God, we believe that all people and all religions are already living in the grace and love of God and will be saved by God's mercy" (Time, Dec. 27, 1982, p. 52). Sister Emmanuelle of Cairo, Egypt, says, "Today we don't talk about conversion any more. We talk about being friends. My job is to prove that God is love and to bring courage to these people" (Time, p. 56). Most westerners assume that we have graduated beyond the 'primitive belief' that we must be saved from God's wrath. We prefer a politically correct God, so we assume that all are saved whether they hear the gospel. If we airbrush God in modern American garb, we will find missions distasteful, disrespectful or even immoral.
Among those who see any value in missions work, misperceptions abound.
Missions as code for a religious cultural-exchange program. There is value in learning about diverse world cultures, customs and foods. But that is not the goal of missions.
Missions as a Christianized tourism venture. Vacations have in important place in the cycle of work and rest. But sightseeing in a foreign country is not the goal of missions.
Missions as a self-esteem booster or a resume builder i.e. international of community service looks great on a college application. True. Both missionaries and senders feel joy in missions, because our joy is in God-and our joy is multiplied when others know God. If these are misperceptions, why then is missions to Mexico (or anywhere) important?
The reason we engage in missions is that eternal life is at stake in missions. Jesus says, "I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins..." Or as Luke explains elsewhere in Acts 26:16-18, "For there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
John Piper once got a call from a seminary asking if he would consider a professorship in New Testament. It didn't take him five seconds to answer that question. He said, "No, I've got a great church. God is beginning to move. Don't even add my name to your list". He wanted to build a world church in Minneapolis, see new missionaries sent from his church every year, welcome home missionaries on furlough, and bring back reports of what God is doing. He wanted to preach and write in such a way that young and old cannot live indifferent to the fate of lost people in the US and around the world. The challenge is great. But God is greater. Jesus says the rewards of joining Him on His mission are a hundred times better than anything this world can offer us [Mk. 10:30]. Maximize your pleasure in God with us tomorrow (June 1st) as together we support GRC's Got Talent, and share in the greatest cause in the world!