Mission is one of the central themes that propels the narrative of Scripture. To understand “mission,” one must consider its function within the entirety of the biblical narrative. It is proper to lay a biblical foundation for Mission before we address the need to do Mission.
A) WHAT IS MISSION AND MISSIOLOGY?
The term mission springs from the words “missio” (singular) and “missiones” (plural) which are Latin translations of the Greek “apostellein,” used in Mark 6:7 as “sent.” It is the infinitive form of the root verb “apostello” which means “to dispatch, or to cause someone to depart for a particular purpose—‘to send.’ The noun form for these words is “apostolos” from which we get the English word “apostle” but “apostello” is not exclusively used for the sending of the apostles only but in a much broader sense like in Acts 15:22 and Philippians 2:19.
Mission conveys the biblical idea of being sent. The church is sent because Jesus was sent, in terms of the words of Jesus: “As the Father has sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21).
The word “apostellein” carries with it the idea of official representation. This means that Christians are official representative of Christ to this world with the purpose of bringing them to a position of redemptive relationship with God. When we call ourselves “Apostolic,” it means that we are Missional.
Missiology, as EDWM puts it, “…is the conscious, intentional, and ongoing study and teaching on the doing of mission.”
B) WHY SHOULD WE DO MISSION?
1) Because the Nature of God Demands Mission
MISSION is “theocentric.” It is God centered for it is the ramification of God’s nature as light (1 John 1:5) and love (1 John 4:16). Light and Love are the primary attractions which draws men and it is not overly emphatic to say that because these two are God’s nature, men will ultimately be drawn to God. “And I, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”
As G. W. Peters, in his book entitled A Biblical Theology of Missions writes, “…Not the welfare and glory of man, not the growth and expansion of the church, but the Glory of God forms the highest goal of Mission because the nature, being, and character of God are the deepest grounds of Missions.”
2) Because the Nature of Our Calling Demands Mission
Matthew 28:19 is oftentimes referred to as the Great Commission. It is the call of Christ to His disciples (not only apostles) to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” Other translations render this as “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” The Gospel and Mission are tightly tied together. Luke 24:46-48 says, “And said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.”
The whole duty of the whole Church is to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world. Christ’s last command should be the believer’s first concern.
3) Because the Nature of Eschatology Demands Mission
Matthew 28:20 says, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This promise is the epitome of the justification for Mission in the last days. Christ is with the Church because the Church engages in Mission. Christ expects Christians in the last days, that is, unto the end of the world, to engage in Mission. To radical thinkers, eschatology is a study of where things are going, and as such it controls their lifestyle and concept of ministry and mission. Our Eschatology will determine the urgency in which we define the “when” of Mission.
4) Because the Nature of God’s Blessing Demands Mission
Abraham was blessed by God and God expects him to be a blessing to all nations. While the hermeneutical value of Genesis 12:1-2 is that the blessing to all nations is Christ and his redemptive work, we should never underscore an underlying principle in this text. God’s blessing is a cause for the recipient to also be a blessing to others. Biblical stewardship does not only mean how well we manage and keep God’s blessings in our life. It also means how well we give to God’s Mission in proportion to what He has entrusted to us. On the spiritual side, life begets life and your salvation should beget another man’s salvation. On the financial side, as much as God’s abundance fills your needs, your abundance should also fill another man’s need. This is the true biblical nature of blessings.
When Jesus sent the 12 apostles on their first Galilean mission in Matthew 10:6-8, Jesus said to them, freely ye have received, freely give. This is one of a host of “Giving” verses that has Mission as its context. We’ll be amazed to find that many of our favorite “Giving” verses in the Bible are in the context of Mission.
5) Because the Holy Ghost Demands Mission
When the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost, after it was engulfed with the power and presence of the Holy Ghost, the first thing that it did was not to write a theological discourse. Neither did they gather and held a synod or a council to established and fixed doctrinal matters. The first thing that the first Church did was to preach and to baptize 3,000 souls. Primarily, they did Mission.
The very first impact of Holy Ghost baptism in our Christian life is to empower us to do Mission. Acts 1:8 declares, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: AND YE SHALL BE WITNESSES unto me…”
The phrase “ye shall be” is “esesthe” in Greek which is a derivative of the root verb “eimi.” It means to have a quality of being. It is in the indicative mood in “…which the action of the verb or the state of being it describes is presented by the writer as real. It is the mood of assertion, where the writer portrays something as actual (as opposed to possible or contingent on intention).” The indicative mood of “ye shall be” implies to us that the Holy Ghost is affirming to us through Luke (the writer of Acts) that once we have received the Holy Ghost, our nature becomes Missional. Mission is not just a possibility but becomes instinct for a Spirit filled person.
C) THE UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH INTERNATIONAL MISSION STATEMENT
How Apostolic Pentecostals view Mission is reflected on the UPCI’s Mission Statement: “The purpose of the United Pentecostal Church International is to carry the whole gospel to the whole world by the whole church; to establish an effective organized effort; to encourage the opening and establishing of new works; to evangelize the world by every means possible; and to produce and maintain a clean ministry and fellowship.”