My wife and I are in the process of raising support for moving to Bogota, Colombia to work with Mission to the World in helping the church in Colombia in evangelism, training, teaching and planting new indigenous churches. We are officially missionaries with our agency, and we have the nametags to prove it. But you know what. We are missionaries now: here in our hometown. We are followers of Jesus Christ, people who by the grace of God have a new life. We have a calling. We do not need to be in Bogota to share the love of Jesus Christ. We do not need to leave the United States to evangelize and train and plant new churches. We are already in our Jerusalem; soon are going to the “end of the earth.”
I find it interesting that we have this classification of Christian workers called missionaries. We tend to define missionaries as people that go into a foreign land or culture in order to, in some way, bring the Good New of Jesus Christ to others. The reason that I find this interesting is that I am not sure why we make this “foreign land or culture” distinction. The disciples in Acts 1 were sent all over the place – even their own city and their own country – Jerusalem and Judea, as well as into neighboring areas such as Samaria and then to the end of the earth. But all of them were given this mission. The command of Jesus in Matt. 28 to go into all the world does not mean to just go to a far country. All the world includes your neighborhood or your city. All the world would include the lonely person in the cubicle next to yours or the noisy guy in the apartment across the hall or your crazy cousin Harry. The purpose of Jesus’ commands in Acts 1 and Matt. 28 is that there is no limit as to where the Gospel is to be taken. It isn’t just to be taken to your neighborhood. The church, as the gathering of the people of God, is not to be limited by geography, culture, language or race. So, we do not just send in our money and hear the report on Sunday evening and think that that is how we get involved in missions.
Here is the deal – we are involved in missions. What we need to ask ourselves is if we want to get serious about it or not. Some of us are called to go into foreign lands, learn new languages and seek to serve Jesus Christ and his church in other places. All of us are called to serve where we are. We are missionaries/ambassadors in our homes, in our workplaces, in our cities, in our families: wherever we find ourselves.
So, let me put this simply. If you are a Christian, you are a missionary. You are a witness.
Now you need to ask yourself this question:
Are you doing your job?