“Home Missions” and “Foreign Missions”
This blog post has been ‘brewing’ in me for quite a few months. We often divide outreach into “over there” & “here”, “foreign” & “home.” But is this biblical? Here are 3 thoughts on the subject.
1) All national boundaries are man-made. A war, a political convention, a treaty, even a little slip of paper passing between world leaders can change boundaries & alignments.
(Man’s View compared with God’s View of the world)
Kingdom Christians operate under God’s orientation of the nations. They are essentially ‘blind’ to national boundaries, even while they are submitting themselves to the changing laws brought on by the boundaries. Where the Gospel is concerned, the boundaries do not exist. This is true of ALL boundaries….even those dividing the good ‘ole USA from her neighbors. To the Kingdom Christian, the boundary separating the USA from all other countries does not exist when it comes to Kingdom work. There are no “Christian nations,” only Christian individuals.
2) When we do Kingdom work “over there” and “here,” we set ourselves up for ungodly division. The Enemy causes the Body to ‘fight’ over finances, over distribution of personnel, over time involvement, etc. A power struggle that God never intended evolves. Much time/money/spiritual energy is wasted.
Also, the Evil One tempts us to think of persons working on one place instead of another as being more or less spiritual than those working in another place. The Scriptures in no way classify believers’ spirituality according to their place of spiritual work. The only classification that the Scriptures know is according to obedience…read the Apostle Pauls’ discussion of ‘baby’ or ‘mature’ or ‘carnal’ Christians in I Corinthians 3:1-9.
A house that is divided with regards to the fulfillment of the Commission of Jesus is a house that has become weak.
As we look at the different churches in the books of the New Testament, there is no ‘competition’ except in matters of godliness. And there was no manmade division according to national histories, languages, cultures….they were united in the Gospel, they were helping each other, they were working for one common goal regardless of their human differences. They recognized that God is no respecter of persons….He has no favorites. (We Americans are often tempted to think that somehow God esteems Americans more highly than people of other nations. This is a wholly untrue perspective that the Enemy uses against the Kingdom.)
3) Sometimes people quote Acts 1:8 as evidence that we should first take care of evangelism at ‘home’, and then if there is any money/time/personnel left over, we should expand to ‘nearby’, and finally, if we are overflowing with money/time/personnel, we should address the evangelism needs of those ‘over there.’ This idea is rooted in two incorrect notions.
First, there is nothing in the Greek language in which Acts 1:9 was written that indicates priority or sequential operations. In other words, ‘over there’ (“uttermost parts of the world”) has no less importance in the Commission of Jesus to His followers than ‘home’ (“Jerusalem). This was discussed in an earlier blog in detail.
Second, we have the erroneous idea that the more we spend of money/time/personnel on home church operations, the healthier & stronger the home church will become. This is akin to telling a person that the more self-centered they become, the more mature & strong they will be. On the contrary, Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 ). What He meant is this : More is to be gained by investing in others than by hoarding for oneself. This principle is true at the church level every bit as much as the personal level. Strong, healthy churches are those that are looking outward, seeking to serve those outside the church….those far outside as well as those barely outside. They are reaching to others, not to build up the home church, but to ‘give away’ the home church. And somehow in that ‘giving away,’ the Lord by His miracle replenishes & builds the church more & more. His blessing (both personal- & church-wise) is in direct proportion to the level of our giving away.
So, now what remains? Only to trust the truths of Scripture, and to live by them.
- The truth that His Kingdom & the Great Commission has no consciousness of man-made national boundaries.
- The truth that only obedience should color our consideration of our fellow believers.
- The truth that it really is more profitable to ‘give away’ than to hoard.
May the Lord of the Church help us to live by faith in His word….may He find us faithful…not to our ideas of how the Kingdom should operate, but to His!