The purpose of mission remains the same – to make disciples of Jesus Christ. There is a need for individuals and communities to acknowledge that Jesus was sent by the Father to lead all humans to salvation through his life, death and resurrection. Whenever I think of mission work I am always asking the question whether it is pointing people to Jesus as the one with whom they can face everything in life and in death.
It is so easy, I find, in the course of doing the good work that we do, to forget the above and be satisfied with doing good.
Kagawa once said, “I read in a book about a man named Christ who went around doing good. It is most disconcerting that I can be so content with just going around.” I would add that Jesus “did good” in a way that pointed people to his Father. We need to do good in a way that points people to Jesus.
So in our development work, in our discipling work, in our preaching, in our church work and in our businesses we need to be constantly asking ourselves whether we are pointing people to Jesus. I’m not talking about whether we can add to the numbers of baptisms – that actually is the privilege of the local churches where we work. I’m not talking about whether we can talk about the number of people we have helped out of poverty or out of a difficult situation.
Yes, we need to do all that, and be able to quantify our work. But that is not enough. What people need is the relationship for them to go on through life, because poverty, challenges, danger, abuse, etc. will face them again. They need to know the One who will walk through those challenges with them – the infinite Jesus, not the finite us.
• John, along with his wife, Susan, has worked with tranzsend in South Asia for the past 36 years. Currently, John leads Marketplacers International Limited.