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What is Missions All About?
by Joel Comiskey
Most Christians believe that missions is important but there's a lot of confusion about what it is and how to define missions. Some solely define missions as near-neighbor evangelism and don't see the larger picture. Other churches talk a lot about overseas missions but do little to share the gospel in the homeland. In fact, it's often easier to go "over there" than to walk across the street to share the gospel.
So what is missions? I like to use the M1-3 category. I learned this from my seminary days, and it provides a global picture of missions. M1 is missions in your own city or area.It's walking across the street and helping your neighbor and eventually sharing the gospel. M1 ministry is what cell groups do when they reach out to their oikos (friends and relatives). M2 missions, on the other hand, is to those who speak the same language but are outside of your immediate context and culture. It takes more work to do M2 evangelism. For example, we have English speaking Muslims living here in Moreno Valley, CA. They are from a totally different culture and language group but they speak English. M2 evangelism would mean getting to know them, winning their friendship, and sharing the gospel with them. For you, it might be another ethnic group that has moved into your city and is learning your culture and language. M2 is entering into their world sufficiently, developing a relationship with them, and then sharing the gospel. Those of us living in the Western world are especially blessed because God has brought the "mission field" to us. Yes, it does take more work to reach people who are different.
The problem with M1 and M2 is that it doesn't extend far enough. One-third of the world's population does not have a local church close enough to effectively communicate the gospel to them. This is why M3 evangelism is so important. M3 ministry is learning another culture and language totally foreign to your own. It's becoming like Jesus and incarnating yourself into another ethnic group to share the gospel and plant Christ's church. We need to mobilize our cells and churches to support and pray for missionaries who are doing M3 missions. And some in your own church who have been fruitful in multiplying cells and supervising them will then take the additional step and move to some of these M3 areas to plant Christ's church.