Sent & Sending
Once upon a time I was a traveling musical missionary. I played guitar and sang with a mobile evangelistic music team from 1997-1999. Over the course of eighteen months and many thousands of miles, both in North America and abroad, we presented in over 500 churches, sharing the gospel of Jesus through music drama and testimony. If you’re wondering what that looks like, picture in your mind “Fiddler on the Roof meets Jesus.”
After that stint, I did a second missionary tour from 2003-2009 in New York City as a missionary to my Jewish people. I did evangelism of every sort, including street outreach, one-on-one ministry, cyber evangelism, phone work, and door-to-door evangelism. I also spoke in churches 30-40 times a year. The foundation of my ministry in the Big Apple was one-on-one evangelism with Jewish seekers and and discipleship efforts with new Jewish believers.
My primary role during these seasons was as a sent one. Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, TN was my sending church, supporting me financially and prayerfully during that time. I also had many individuals and a few other churches partner with me in this way, helping send me to the mission field.
In fact, each of us as God’s children are sent ones, because as followers of Jesus, one of our primary kingdom responsibilities is to fulfill the Great Commission, going where He sends us:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
As His witnesses, we’re sent in His name under His authority, endowed with His power to make disciples. Wherever we are today, the Lord has planted us to invest in redemptive relationships with the lost – loving them, praying for them, serving them, and sharing the gospel with them.
Interestingly, the Lord has also has given us the kingdom responsibility of supporting the sent ones in practical ways. We help in the sending! As the family of God, the Church, we are also on mission together through love, prayer, equipping, and encouragement. For example, consider just a few verses:
…let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works [including the work of evangelism] (Hebrews 10:24).
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).
As iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).
So we’re all sent ones, witnesses for Jesus. Yet, at the same time, we’re also sending ones, involved in sending brothers and sisters into God’s field, the mission field, in various ways – as we’ve noted above. The beautiful thing is that as the body of Christ, we all have unique roles and responsibilities:
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12).
So be encouraged! Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Whatever ministries the Lord leads you to engage, remember you are critical to the overall function of the body of Christ, the Church, for we are a team. And guess what? I’ve read the book. We win!
… thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).