Myth #7 - It's All Missions
by Shane Bennett
One of my early attempts to share my passion for unreached nations took place a small country church some years ago. I gave them my best. Even so, I'm sure the predominant thought was, "Isn't that youngster a dear," not "Let's go to the ends of the earth!" The pastor also felt it necessary to mitigate my remarks and blunt my passion for the unreached by assuring his flock, "We're all missionaries to our neighborhoods and workplaces!" I was thoroughly deflated.
If you're a white 75-year-old named Mrs. Johnson and your neighborhood consists predominately of Arabic-speaking Yemenis with a smattering of "Goth" teenagers thrown in, and you're building relationships with them because you love them and love Jesus, then, yeah, you're a missionary to your neighborhood. Otherwise, maybe you're not.
Not all outward efforts for the gospel is missions. Not all that is good and "of Jesus," is "missions." That doesn't mean it's not good, just that it's not missions.
See also: Alan Hirsch on looking at our communities with the thoughtful, loving, eyes of a cross-cultural missionary.
Matt: This is a challenging thought, as many churches are calling any kind of outreach these days, "missions". Is there a difference between missional activity and "missions" in the traditional sense of the word?