I remember preaching on this topic at Bethel Baptist Church, long time ago. That talk was the result of being convicted by the last chapter in a book titled Vital Missions Issues (ed. Roy B Zuck). In that chapter, titled “Go Missions” the author Ronald Blue’s main thesis is not really “Go Missions” but “Send Missions!”
After succinctly clarifying the various links in the missions enterprise, he argues from Romans 10 that we have to go one step back in order to make the missional endeavors successful. It is in fact the starting point! Before the “going” can happen, there must be the “sending.”
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14–15)
From the above passage and Matthew 28:19-20, he identifies the four links of missions: (2) Going, (3) Baptizing, (4) Teaching, and (1) Sending. This is Missions, namely, making disciples of all nations.
Today, “sending” was a dominant thought in my mind once again. that is because I decided to excite my heart for missions by re-reading John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad! So I started reading the book from this morning. Now, I have a bad habit–I sometimes read a book from the end–like the last chapter! I like to see what the author has to say at the end of what he has tried to say in the rest of the book. (Sorry, I am peculiar.)
So, there it was once again! Tom Steller, Piper’s ministry companion writes the last chapter for the book: “The Supremacy of God in Going and Sending.” He too, stresses the importance of the “sending” link in the missions efforts so that the nations will praise the Lord our God. (By the way, the term missions comes from the Latin word mitio meaning “send”). Here is the passage he drew the principle from:
“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for ethese brothers, fstrangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner gworthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of hthe name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles” (3John 5 -7).
My usual reaction to this crucial point is “Why aren’t there a strong and healthy system in churches for preparing and sending people to missions?” Today, however, my thought has been more like, “What role am I playing in “sending” those who desire to go for missions? Am I praying for potential and possible individuals whom God might raise up to go to missions to proclaim the praises of our God and Jesus to those who are not yet praising Him? Am I intentionally encouraging them? Am I personally contributing financially to help their going? Am I engaged in a strategically efficient system to make the going happen? These are as important as the question, “Am I willing to go myself?”
I think ‘sending’ is the weakest link in churches that desire to be missional.