Christian missionaries have been part of the evangelical movement throughout the world for thousands of years as Christ followers heed the command of Jesus to go forth into the nations and share the good news of salvation. Christ himself traveled from city to city and village to village giving people of all socio-economic groups the opportunity to hear the message that God was sending through him - to repent and accept the free gift of salvation. And, in the way of Christ, believers have continued to reach out to countries who have not yet heard the message of Christ and to help establish Christian leadership and churches. Today, as many countries have received the gospel message, there is still a need to continue in the tradition of sharing not only spiritual wisdom, but also material resources, as well. The Bible is clear that Christianity crosses cultural boundaries and that brothers and sisters in Christ are called to support one another in every blessing. As the world becomes more and more accessible with the Internet and with international travel, missions has grown to phenomenal proportions. Most anyone can find an opportunity to take a missionary journey with a myriad of short-term options available.
A missions trip can have many different objectives and can be approached in many different ways. We see a broad range of examples from the Bible. In the Old Testament, many consider that Abraham took a missionary journey by setting out to an unknown country following God's directive. God also sent prophets and priests to cities and people groups to teach others about Him and His ways. From the beginning, the Lord has been concerned for all people and He has chosen to use people to share this concern. When the Messiah arrives in the New Testament, Christian missionaries are conceptualized. Jesus sent His disciples out in groups to take the specific message of the gospel forward. As when a drop upon the waters sends out rippled waves, so the gospel message was to spread out in all directions, changing individual lives and impacting the world. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples had an even greater hope to share with the world: the hope of resurrection for all who would believe. In the letters of the Apostle Paul, we see that men and women were sent forward not only with this message but for additional reasons, as well. Cross cultural financial sharing, encouragement, and church planting were all objectives of the new Christian faith. To discover more about what the Bible has to say about missions, be sure and check out these Bible resources.
The objectives of missions have not changed, although the methods have seen many variations over the years. With travel expediency and technology, Christian missionaries reaching out to churches and those in need has opened an entire new way of interacting. And, missions has become a ministry that most anyone at any age can take part in. The opportunities to meet and support Christian people groups in other countries are endless. And, there are still people groups that need to hear the salvation message of Jesus Christ. There are languages that have not yet been written, meaning that there are still cultures that do not have the Word of God available in their native tongues. There are established churches that need additional resources for training up disciples, and there is wide spread persecution of Christianity. Those who suffer daily persecution are always in need of encouragement from their brothers and sisters from around the world. The need is great, and God has opened the doors of blessings, meeting needs at a greater rate than ever before. "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations" (1 Chronicles 16:23-24). These are truly amazing times in which to live and to take part in a missionary journey.
As servants of Christ seek to serve Him and love all of His children through mission trips, there has truly been a global impact for Christ. Churches have been built, children have been fed, homes have been repaired, and lives have been changed for the better. Christian missionaries may go into an under-developed country and live among the people, dedicating their lives to building a foundation of the Faith. Short-term trips are often directed at providing aid or taking a gift, giving both the givers and the receivers the opportunity to learn more about each other and experience the Spirit of God in new and exciting ways. Not only are there physical results, but there are spiritual and emotional outcomes, as well. When we are challenged to love and share with people who are from completely different cultures, we have our eyes opened to what God is doing in and through people who are different from us. Minds will be opened to see that God and his infinite ways are more vast, yet more understandable, evoking an incredible spiritual enlightenment. All of this can be accomplished in a simple missionary journey, by taking a step out of comfort and into the exciting adventures of God. Take the quiz above and find out more about what the Bible has to say about missions.
Christian DiscipleshipNew Testament Christian discipleship is not a rigorous exercise of dos, don'ts and religious dogma, but a natural process for those who decide to become followers of Jesus Christ. The greatest story ever told is the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God sent to the earth to redeem mankind from sin. While all humans were condemned to death and separation from God because of the transgressions of the first man, Adam; Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, was born of the Virgin Mary, baptized at the River Jordan, and endued with the power of the Holy Spirit to perform a three and a half year ministry of miracles, healing and deliverance while on the earth. But it was the sacrifice of shedding His sinless blood at Calvary's Cross which purchased mankind from the bondage and penalty of sin and enabled anyone who will believe in Him to inherit eternal life. Men, women, boys, and girls who realize a need for the salvation of the soul can turn to God and accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ. As they profess Him as Lord, they will want to join a local church and participate in Bible studies on discipleship. As disciples, or followers, of the life, ministry and doctrine of Jesus Christ, true born-again believers adhere to the Christian lifestyle and become transformed into sons of God.
Once an individual is born again by repenting of sin and accepting and professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the new convert begins to grow in the knowledge of the Word of God and follow sound Biblical doctrine. A disciple is one who not only believes and accepts the teachings of a leader, but who follows those principles which are the basis of a specific belief system. New Testament disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were students of His doctrine and spent the three and a half years of Christ's earthly ministry observing not only His sinless lifestyle, but listening to the parables He taught and witnessing the miracles performed on a daily basis. Modern day Bible studies on discipleship stress not only the importance of being born again and receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but being faithful observers, hearers, and doers of the Word of God.
Discipleship requires students of Christianity to submit themselves to sound Biblical teaching under seasoned, experienced leaders. As the Apostle Paul taught Timothy, so must today's new Christians submit themselves to the tutelage of older saints who have withstood spiritual trials and testings to become victorious through faith in God and a daily application of Biblical truths. Bible studies on discipleship include examples of Old and New Testament followers who developed into powerful, anointed men and women of God, largely as a result of being devoted disciples. Even Jesus, fully the Son of God, could not begin an earthly ministry without submitting, first to parents, Joseph and Mary; and later to governors and teachers as a 12-year-old youth. The Prophet Samuel was under the tutelage of the aged, but spiritually blind priest Eli until reaching an age of maturity to lead the people of God. Likewise, the Prophet Elisha was a member of a school of prophets established by the elder Prophet Elijah. Elisha inherited not only the physical mantle of Elijah, but also the spiritual anointing of the senior man of God because of a willingness to submit to leadership. Bible studies on discipleship also attest to the twelve apostles' training and tutelage under Jesus Christ Himself. The ministries and miracles performed after Christ's ascension were the fruit of a willingness to become disciplined followers.
Christian discipleship is the foundation upon which the Church universal develops, grows and is sustained. Christ admonished the disciples, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20). For over 2,000 years, the perpetuation of the teachings of Christ through able men and women has kept the Church alive. Missionaries to darkest Africa and other untamed continents have carried the gospel to unchurched and unlearned inhabitants, converting them to a life of salvation and grace through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In America, countless souls have been added to the Kingdom of God through charismatic preaching and the teaching of the Word of God through Biblical studies on Christian discipleship. By the power of the Holy Spirit, hearts of men, women and boys and girls have been changed; lives have been touched and souls have been reclaimed for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Individuals seeking to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and submit to discipleship may want to visit a local church or consult with a pastor or minister. If they have not repented from the sin inherited from the first man, Adam; unbelievers can pray this simple, but sincere prayer to receive salvation: "Father God, I admit to you that I am a sinner. But I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He shed His blood at Calvary's Cross to redeem all mankind from sin. I repent of all my sins and ask that You forgive me and make Jesus Christ my personal Lord and Savior. Fill me with the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that I may have the power to live a sinless life in Christ. Amen." Those who pray sincerely are immediately received into the grace of God, cleansed from all sin, and accepted into the Body of Christ. Church membership is important to maintaining salvation. Bible studies on Christian discipleship will provide a much needed foundation for a newly born again believer upon which to build a life of liberty and freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.