Mission Strategies

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

The book of Acts in the New Testament of the Scriptures explains how the Church was started. However, what does Acts say about missional strategies or strategies for missionaries? Acts chapters 13-19 give Christians five principles for missional living and missionary strategies.

The first aspect of missional strategies would be missionaries need to be worshipping God and dedicating themselves to the Lord (Acts 13:1-3). Prayer is very important in any ministry. As we see in Acts 13, it is no exceptional to forget prayer for missionaries seeking to spread the Gospel to others. How should this affect missional strategy?

Missionaries, mission organizations, and even Churches need to recognize that they are not the ones who do the saving of the lost souls. Who is it? It is Jesus Christ alone! God alone! The Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of the lost but may use a missionary as a tool to do just that. God uses prayer to accomplish His will. The goal is to make much of Christ (Acts 13:2), “worshipping” God. Is that not the goal of missions? Missionaries need to be praying and even fasting over lost souls that God would save those the missionaries are pursuing (Acts 13:2-3). Praying, fasting, and worshipping God are key are mission strategy. It is foolish if anyone thinks that salvation is up to him or her. Christianity is not a religion based on men, but on God. God is the one who calls, God is the one who saves, and God is just choosing to use men to accomplish this. A missionary’s desire should be to call all to join them in worship (Acts 13:2).

Secondly, a joyless missionary is not really a missionary. There is absolutely no reason a missionary of the gospel should be joyless. The only thing a person has to be worried about is spending eternity away from God and burning in Hell. However, Jesus already took care of that. We do not have to be worried about anything! Joy is based off of what Christ has done, which is why missionaries can have joy during the most difficult circumstances. For example, when Paul and Silas were thrown in prison for the Gospel (Acts 16:25). These missionaries had joy. Missionaries should have joy and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52). Again, how does this affect the mission strategy?

What is the goal of missions? The goal of missions is to make Christ know, worship Him, to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever (Rev. 4:11). Why would anyone want to come to Christ when they see no joy in the missionary’s life? Joy is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. If joy is a part of the Holy Spirit, than logically and scripturally a missionary should be joyful. The only way to have true joy is in Jesus Christ, because of what He has accomplished (Acts 13:52).

What then if a missionary is not joyful? This does not necessarily disqualify him or her from service in this ministry, however they do lack the knowledge of what God has truly done for them. Sadly, this is true for many missionaries. But why then are they sharing the Gospel? What is motivating them? If a missionary is Spirit filled, joy should be an outcome of that. If the missionary is Spirit filled, then they are saved and understand what Jesus has done for them, this is crucial for missionaries who are God’s messengers to teach the lost, but in order to have their most impact they must have an outflow of joy in God (Acts 13:52; Acts 15:3).

The third aspect of missionary strategy would be preach the Word (Acts 14:7; Acts 14:21; Acts 16:10; Acts 18:28;). What is the desired outcome? New life in Jesus (Acts 19:6). A missionary must be able to teach, preach, and explain the Word of God. This is not to say they need to go to Bible College, though it would be recommended. This does not mean to say they have to be excellent communicators, though this is very helpful. This does not mean they do not have to be pastors, though this can be helpful also. It means that they must have an understanding of the Word and can communicate it accurately in the setting they are preaching to or engaging with (Acts 18:25-26). Missionaries also need to have a learners spirit so they may understand God’s work more accurately (Acts 18:26). Preach the Gospel is essential! It is the reason missionaries exist and are sent (Acts 13:3).

This affects mission strategy because it is the very reason Churches send missionaries. Missionaries must preach. They must teach! This is not to avoid or dismiss the importance of engaging the culture, but they must do it in such a way that the gospel is not compromised in any form or fashion. The gospel is the very reason missionaries can have joy! It is the very reason missionaries want to go and reach others. It is the very reason we want others to worship Christ.

What about women preaching? This is a very important topic and very relational to the mission strategy. Women can teach others who do not know Christ. In fact, they can even teach others more about Christ. However, not in a Church setting or when they are exercising authority over a man in the Church. But if they are engaging the culture like they should, and then teaching them, it is not wrong because they are not exercising the authority over a man which God has made specifically for the man to do (Acts 18:26).

Missionaries are made to preach the word. They need to be able to do preach in order to be a successful and a proper missionary (Acts 16:10).

Fourth, along with preaching the word, it is not enough to just teach it sometimes or occasionally, but teach it boldly (Acts 14:3; Acts 18:26; Acts 19:8). Missionaries cannot be ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16). They must be convinced of it and preach it boldly! Two of the greatest missionaries of all time preached it boldly here in Acts! Missionaries today need to do the same! If this is true, how does this affect the strategy of today?

With new missionaries, how are they proclaiming the truths of God now? Are they preparing for ministry? Are they currently proclaiming God’s word boldly where God has placed them now? When a Church sends a missionary, the Church should not question whether or not he or she will be preaching the gospel but be confident that he or she will preach it whenever he/she can. It is their desire and love and then must preach the Word of God! They must proclaim it boldly. This is how God has chosen to make His name known, if a missionary does not do this, the mission will most likely fail.

Along with worshipping God, being joyful in Him, preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and proclaiming Christ bolding, the fifth and final aspect is planting Churches.

Planting Churches is crucial and Acts records Paul and Silas doing just that (Acts 14:23; Acts 15:41; Acts 16:5). Paul and Silas were sent from a Church (Acts 13:1-4) with the Holy Spirit. These great missionaries were sent from a Church, it is kind of important. Building Churches and planting new Churches is very important! It takes work; The church must have the proper structure and leadership to maintain its spiritual health.

From a missional strategic standpoint, why is planting a Church vital? First, it is important because two of the greatest missionaries ever set forth an amazing example for others to follow. However, it also affects the strategic standpoint because discipleship making is key and it should last. A missionary can only be in one place at a time. A Church builds the community, and teaches others who then will go and teach others also (Acts 14:23; Acts 14: 28; Acts 15: 3-4; Acts 15:41; Acts 16:5; Acts 18:23; Acts 19:9). A missionary needs to be discipleship building/making. Who then can go and make more disciples. It should look like when someone throws a rock into water. Once the rock drowns in the water, the affects of the rock cause a ripple, more ripples, etc…A missionary needs to cause a ripple effect and he does this by building churches.

Another way building churches supports the strategic aspect of missions is that life change should happen. The Church is the primarily means to preach and make disciples and life change happens (Acts 19:6-10). Paul and Silas did a lot of real miracles that were evident to everyone by the means of the Holy Spirit and it often times affected the person physically, in America the change often times is more internal but has a similar affect that these missionaries did. The Church exists to reveal sin and to make Christ known so others will worship Christ. The Church is how Christ primarily is made known and this aspect of missions should not be denied.

As Acts 13-19 gives excellent examples and principles for missional living and missional strategies. These chapters tell us to worship Christ. A Baptist Scholar, John Piper has said, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t (Piper).” These chapters also tell us to be joyful in Him. What an amazing idea that Christians, pastors, and missionaries can be joyful in God no matter what is happening around us. Thirdly, missionaries must be preaching the Word, preaching the gospel! Along with preaching the gospel, preach it boldly! The final aspect of missions as it specifically relates to Acts is building Churches so that true discipleship making will never cease. This is the goal anyway because missionaries should never cease the desire to have all the nations worshipping God.

Works Cited
MacArthur, John. “13-19.” The MacArthur Study Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2010. 1612-625. Print.
Piper, John. “Missions Exists Because Worship Doesn’t – Desiring God.” Home – Desiring God. Desiring God, 05 Sept. 2011. Web. 06 Dec. 2011. .


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