Unless They Are Sent

Often there is in the Christian church an emphasis on “going” on evangelistic and missions endeavors, and this is certainly appropriate. But Romans 10:15 challenges us in a different way: “How will they preach unless they are sent?” It is not only the responsibility of individual members of the church to go on mission, but also of the church corporately to send them: “How will they preach unless they are SENT?”  This reminds us that the church as a body must have an emphasis on sending people to share the good news. A local church can do this in several ways:

— The church can provide specific opportunities to send their members on mission, to local, state, natonal, and international missions points, fulfilling Jesus’ Acts 1:8 command to go to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.”  How many people feel called to go on mission, but have no idea what opportunities might be available? A strong mission-sending church will consistently place specific mission opportunities before its members.

— A church can also provide funding to send members on mission. Mission trips can be costly.  High school and college students, and young adults, are often effective on mission — and yet how many that age can afford a $2000-3000 mission trip?  An effective mission sending church will provide funding mechanisms so that as many members as possible may go on mission.

— Churches must also not overlook the spiritual duties inherent in sending. When they send an individual, or a team, on mission, they are responsible, as William Carey said to “hold the rope” in prayer and spiritual support.  “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12) and “the weapons of our warfare are not according to the flesh” (II Cor. 10:4).  When we send members out on mission, we need to send them with the confidence that they will be upheld continually in prayer by their sending church family.

— And an effective sending church will highlight and celebrate missions sending. It will measure its success not by how many they keep, but by how many they send; it will recognize those who return, celebrate their victories, and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

Romans 10:14 asks regarding the lost: “How will they believe without a preacher?”  Our people need to go!  But then in :15 it casts the responsibility on us corporately as church bodies:  “How will they preach unless they are SENT?”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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