There are so many choices and opportunities for mission today. We can be trend followers or we can build our involvements on biblical foundations.

A Mandate for the World
I hear various statements about missions. One is that the day for overseas mission is over. Another is that we only need to sponsor nationals overseas rather than send any missionaries ourselves. The Great Commission highlights four truths about God's mission for our local fellowships and for the global church no matter where it is.

We are to be going: God wants us to be going into the entire world. The "go" of Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15 is actually a participle "as you are going." While we may not know exactly where to go, we know we are expected to go into a world where people su er and where many have not yet heard or responded to the message of God's love expressed through Jesus' life, death and resurrection. We are to be a sent and sending people. Jesus says "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you," (John 20:21). Our question is "where and to whom?"

Everyone needs a chance to respond: The "all nations" phrase of Luke 24:47 and Matthew 28:19 mean every ethnic speci c group. All people groups are invited to be a part of God's family. Mark 16:15 expands this to "all creation," and Luke describes it geographically: begin where you live (your "Jerusalem"), expand your region (your "Judea"), across cultures locally (your "Samaria") and then to "all nations" or "the ends of the earth (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). God calls us to keep extending our reach because we are sent people. To be sent is to be relationally involved in a way that the message of Jesus is shared both in words and in actions. This begins with our own communities, cross-culturally, and reaches to places far away where Jesus' name has not been heard before.

We have Jesus' presence and power: The way we respond to Jesus' commands doesn't rely on our own authority or power. We go out under the authority of the deathconquering risen Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18) knowing that he has promised to be with us always wherever we go (Matthew 28:20). He is in us, working through us. He is in us, working through us. Hesends us out in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8).

We need to be flexible: The Great Commission is timeless, but the way it is applied varies from place to place. There are more than two billion people who still have no access to hearing, experiencing or understanding the gospel. How will they be reached? Being flexible may not mean sending people directly to these regions. Instead, we may join in three way partnerships with our new neighbours - immigrant people from those regions - and with churches in other countries that have geographical and cultural proximity to these unreached people. International Student Ministries (ISM NZ) is an example of such a ministry working this way in and from New Zealand. Leadership Development International (LDI NZ) is an example of developing training partnerships that meet this mandate, and Bright Hope World is another that supports mission relationally and financially in such contexts. This issue of GC3 Connect includes stories from mission groups seeking to apply their skills in fulfilling the Great Commission. Be encouraged by them and explore where your contribution could be made.

The missional impetus is God's people, relying on God's power and presence, going out and looking for opportunities to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus to all peoples everywhere.

Russell Thorp –
Missions Director

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