Heaven will be fun. The worship will be excellent and the fellowship intimate. No divisions. No tears. Perfection.
Then why aren't we there yet? I believe because we still have a mission to accomplish here on earth. Christ's great commission to make disciples of all nations is still not completed (Matthew 28:18-20). Speaking of the second coming, Peter says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 peter 3:9). God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3). If Jesus had come 38 years ago, I would be in hell right now. I'm glad He waited. And He continues to wait for people like my neighbors to come to know Him and join the heavenly company.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, of which I am a part, was founded by A.B. Simpson in 1887 to bring back the King. The early Alliance missionaries were motivated to go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, so that the last soul might be saved and Jesus could return. The rallying theme was "bring back the King," based on Matthew 24:14, which says, "And this gospel will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come."
People still need to be saved and the gospel preached before the end comes. It has been estimated that as much as one-third of the world's population of six billion people are still not within reach of a local church able to effectively communicate the gospel to them. Missions is still the motivating force of the church until Jesus comes again.
Last month I spoke to pastors at the Latin American Cell Church Mission Network conference in San Salvador. I told them that missions is not another program but the very air of the church. Missions and prayer go beyond church programs and are like the church's oxygen.
For the month of August, the JCG blog will explore how missions and the cell church are intimately linked together to fulfill the great commission. We'll talk about what cell churches can do to participate in missions. Experienced cell church pastors will write 20 blogs on this topic throughout the month of August. If you'd like to receive these blogs daily via email, please sign up HERE.
The schedule is:
- Week 1 (August 7-13): The role of missions in the cell church. God's heartbeat is missions. It's the air of the church, and the church can't breath without it.
- Week 2 (August 14-20): How do we define missions? Some have used the terms M1 (people like us), M2 (same language but different culture), and M3 (different language and culture). Missions is primarily evangelism and church planting, but it also includes social outreach, like feeding the poor and medical ministry.
- Week 3 (August 21-27): How can cell churches practically get involved in missions? Some cell churches pray for unreached people groups during the Witness time of the cell, others organize mission trips, outreaches, or helping the poor and needy.
- Week 4 (August 28-September 03): Testimonies of how cell churches are practicing missions today.
My prayer is that you will be motivated afresh to emphasize missions both personally and in your church. Question: Why do you believe that missions is so important? Please comment HERE.