The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go – Luke 10:1
Jesus sent people. He sent followers out.
Most Christian groups don’t care for them, but the closest ‘religion’ that does this en masse are the Mormons. A two-year mission for men ages 19-26 is a strong component of the Mormon church, and the results are interesting. If their statistics are to be believed, the Mormon church is adding one-million members every three years. Compare that to any mainline protestant denomination in the last twenty-five years. You choose.
It’s easy to see – mission matters.
I am consistently surprised by the number of adult Christians I know who have never been on a mission trip. If you know me, you know I am a United Methodist guy. If you know us, you know our statistics are terrible. If you ask the question – why? – you will get many answers. One of the reasons, however, is mission. The church gives a message of tithe, then charges for youth ministry and many others, and then mission trips go beyond.
What if change happened? What if church was inverted?
Instead of your tithe to the church, tithe to your mission trip until you can go on your mission abroad. Then, when you return, decide what your local church contribution should be.
What would happen?
My guess is our statistics would skyrocket. The reason is simple. Once people see the power of Jesus in the mission field everything changes. You live for something else. Instead of vacations and cars and bigger and more, you think – people and impact and widow and orphan. Had those thoughts lately?
The risk of any blog is that it is ultimately self-serving, and this one is no exception. This week, ten of us are leaving for Guatemala on a mission to help orphans. The majority of us have never done this, and I am eager to see what the impact is. My prayer is that everything will change. Whether it does or not is the Spirit’s call. For now, it is simply ten people putting aside ‘normal’ life to go love on orphans.
I just wonder, what if church made this a priority, or even a requirement? The gospels do not tell us how or why Jesus selected seventy-two to go out and be His mission. To be honest, we do not even know how many followers He had at that point. Whatever the number, however, the percentage was significant.
What if every church committed to sending 72 people out as missionaries each year? What if every church committed to sending 72% of its members out as missionaries each year?
The landscape would change. Instead of being an institution enamored with its own decline, we would become the church the gospel reports. Luke tells us –
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” – Luke 10:17.
Want a faith like that?
Go on a mission.
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