The Missions Festival is in full swing. It’s been a joy to see, hear and even taste of other cultures and countries. If you’re like me, exposure to these sorts of experiences and ideas leaves me asking a single question: Why? Why do we consider other cultures and countries? Why connect to them? Why spend our valuable time, and often money, on this sort of thing? Why do we keep doing this? Is it simply to know more, see more, to be more “well-rounded” Christians? I guess what I am asking and wondering is: is there more to these sorts of things than meets the eye (or the occasional taste bud)?
When we look to the Bible to answer this, we get a resounding, "yes". It may not surprise you that mission was at the heart of Jesus’ incarnation and ministry. To say Jesus was “on mission” seems a bit silly to say because it seems so...obvious. However, in an evangelical world that seems to tag “missional” onto just about everything, tagging it onto the life of Jesus is actually a correct fit. Consider what Jesus says early in his ministry: “but he said to them, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose'" (Luke 4:43). Jesus names what he is doing as preaching, as taking “the good news” to different towns; that is his purpose. In other words, he is on mission. Also, consider Jesus’ parting words known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28 to his disciples. He is having them "go, make disciples… of all nations." His value of mission was passed on to his disciples. This certainly isn’t a new theme in the Bible either. God was fully aware of this dynamic when he was sending Israel into the Promised Land. The same can be said for the distinctives God was giving the Israelites in Leviticus about what it looked like to be YHWH followers.
So, let's attempt an answer to the many "whys" that were asked. We are on mission because Jesus takes mission seriously, and as Christ-followers we also take mission seriously. Highlighting the way Christ Church is on mission through the Missions Festival is more than tastes, words and experiencing other cultures, it’s being faithful to our call as Christ-followers in our current context. We are seeking to expose many others, in many other nations, to the saving power that is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Illustration by Lillian Fuller