From Everywhere and To Everywhere
When teaching about the mission of God, a verse which is frequently quoted by church leaders is Acts 1:8.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
It is appropriate to do so. It is the recounting of Christ’s final encouragement and teaching to the disciples. Preparing for His ascension, Jesus commands them to wait for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and then to be serve as His witnesses to the world. It is an admonition that all believers in all ages have needed.
One encouragement that I will make for us is to remember that every Christian has Acts 1:8 in their Bible. At times, we are tempted to think that our geographic location is the “Jerusalem” from which the mission of God emanates. Rather, we should be prepared to both send missionaries from and receive missionaries to our culture. Though it has been helpful at times, the model of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world as concentric circles of influence carries a passive temptation to it. We could too easily think, “I have to totally evangelize Judea before moving to Samaria.” I believe it is a faulty understanding of Jesus’ command. Rather, the mission of God is to occur simultaneously in all places across the globe at all times. We are not all moving to Jerusalem to make disciples there before making disciples in Bangkok, London, Mexico City, and Nashville.
The mission of God is now decentralized. God intends for missionaries to be sent from everywhere to everywhere. The calling on our lives is to bear witness of Christ in the place where we currently reside and to carry that witness to every other place we travel. God’s intent for the church to witness of Christ and make disciples for Him is both a local and global endeavor. We must be ready to live it out in all of its callings spiritually, relationally, and geographically.