Going and sending represent the partnership between a church and a missionary. Every believer has a part to fulfill in missions, whether it is a missionary who leaves his local church to carry the gospel to a foreign land or a member of a local church who actively participates in sending forth missionaries. We are to be faithful to our calling.
Distinguishing Senders And Goers
- The church effectively and solely inherited the responsibility of the great commission. This is the task of the church to be continuously making disciples of all nations until Jesus’ return. This is to be carried out by going to the nations of the world preaching the gospel, baptizing new converts in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching the Word of God to edify the believers. Thus, every believer should be concerned about all the people of the world hearing the gospel and be involved in this world-wide venture so that all the earth may hear, believe, and call upon the name of Jesus to be saved.
Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8
- The Bible is clear that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How will they call on Him if they have not believed? How will they believe if they have never heard of Jesus? How can they hear if there is no preacher, and how can they preach unless they are sent? Therefore, there are two main types of callings when referring to missions: goers and senders. In general, all believers have the responsibility to go preach the gospel and send around the world those willing to witness of Jesus, but specifically we have different roles and lifestyles. Goers and senders represent two different lifestyles but the one and the same mission. They are interconnected and dependent on each other.
- Goers (itinerant): A “goer” is a missionary who leaves his local church and goes forth to be a witness among the heathen of the world. This means that certain believers will be called to forsake their traditional occupation, neighborhood, and family to take the gospel to another land. This often requires the financial backing of the church.
- Senders (settled): A “sender” is a member of a local church who actively participates in sending forth missionaries to be witnesses among the heathen of the world. They aren’t called to forsake their traditional occupation, neighborhood, and family to take the gospel to another land, but instead to work hard and honestly to provide for their families and use their money, possessions, time and talents to further the mission. Every believer should be involved in sending missionaries to other lands that they themselves cannot go to and choose to strategically live their lives so that you are not only shining a light at home but around the world.
Missionary Partnerships: Fellowship In The Gospel
- Paul thanked God in prayer because of the church at Philippi’s ongoing “fellowship in the gospel”. This church purposefully partnered with Paul. Paul had more than one partnership like this. He was in partnership with local churches. The partnership had several factors that serve as a good example for us today: (1) Relational—they had a deep concern for and relationship with Paul. This is genuine care, interest and involvement in each others lives. (2) Refreshing—the partnership was a joy, one that greatly encouraged Paul and he enjoyed when He could be with them. (3) Financial—they even took it upon themselves to financially support and help Paul. Paul even looked forward to their help as it enable him to serve others. (4) Prayerful—they knew what was going on with each other and often prayed for each other. (5) Service—they would serve each other and partake of the same things, including: evangelism, encouragement during times of imprisonment, or sending co-labourers to help serve.
Philippians 1:3-8, 14; 2:25; 4:14-20; Romans 15:24; 30-33; Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 11:8
The Financial Support Of The Mission
- Believers are stewards and pilgrims. As stewards, we recognize that God is the sovereign owner of everything, including all of our earthy money and possessions—and we are to faithfully manage that which He has put into our care. As pilgrims, we recognize that our citizenship is in heaven—God’s kingdom is where our loyalties lie. Therefore, this world is not our home but we are just passing through. But while we are journeying through this world desiring a better country, we are on mission to reach the people of the world with the gospel of Jesus—that “whosoever will” might be saved.
Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Samuel 2:7; John 18:36; Hebrews 11:13-16; Philippians 3:17-21
- Believers are to work and give. The biblical method to obtain money is work. God has designed mankind to work in order to provide a living for themselves and their families. But also we obtain money and gain treasure on earth to invest in heaven. As believers, we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth because they have no lasting value (moth and rust doth corrupt; thieves break in and steal). Instead, we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven because they have lasting value (neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; thieves do not break in nor steal). Therefore, true wealth is found not in our treasure (money and possessions) here on earth but in treasure in heaven (rewards from God). God has an unlimited number of treasure to give to those who invest in heaven through using their wealth (money and possessions) to serve God and others.
Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:33; Mark 10:21; 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
- Believers are to give to missions. Full-time ministers of the gospel should earn their living (or have the right to be financially supported) by this “gospel-work” alone. This can be accomplished through local churches supporting missionaries. This is also one of the ways all believers can be involved in missions. The New Testament paradigm for giving, generous grace giving, applies for this type of giving. Its principles are as follows: complementary—a balance between the spiritual and material workings within the church; proportional—the amount given is “within” and sacrificially “beyond” our financial ability; regular—a pattern to follow so that we can excel in our giving; cheerful—a joy because it is a privilege and not an obligation; honest—the process of dealing with money that is given through the church and/or to missionaries needs to be done in a way that is accountable so there would be no reason for criticism.
2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 8-24; 9:1-15; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 16:2-4
- Believers are blessed by giving to missions. There are two main blessings we can partake in from giving to missions: (1) for with the measure we give, in the same way it will be measured back to us again or we will reap what we sow—meaning that God will supply all our needs as we are obedient to Him; (2) fruit will abound to our accounts—meaning as we use our money and possessions to support God’s work in this world we are laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven. For example, if you support a missionary and someone gets saved through his ministry, then you partake in that fruit too.
Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Philippians 4:17-19; Matthew 6:19-21
- Believers make missions giving a priority because the mission is a priority. We see the need of the world to receive the gospel. We willingly desire to take part. We wisely make giving a financial priority. We strategically plan with our local church so we can do more together. We work hard and give as God prospers us—first taking a portion of our money and giving it or laying it aside so that it can be given when needed. We continue to faithfully give and support the work of missionaries who go on our behalf.
1 Corinthians 9:7; 16:2; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Timothy 2:1-7
- Whose responsibility is the great commission?
- What is a goer?
- What is a sender?
- What does a missionary partnership look like?
- How do we financially support the mission?