Ice Breaker Activity
Greet everyone at the door with nametags with the same name written on them (choose something gender-neutral like Alex, Jordan or Taylor if it’s a mixed group). Tell them to use only that name to refer to everyone in the group. See if you can keep it going for about 15 minutes until you play the intro video.
For the snack this week, we suggest you engage in a little playful genericide. Choose a store-brand version of a favorite cookie and buy a jug of non-dairy milk. If you have a thermos, serve the milk in that. Or, pick up a pack of Jell-O brand tapioca pudding (turns out Jell-O makes more than fruit-flavored gelatin desserts!).
“If every Christian is already considered a missionary…nobody needs to get up and go anywhere to preach the gospel. But if our only concern is to witness where we are, how will people in unevangelized areas ever hear the gospel?” –Gordon Olson
All good work done in the name of Christ, especially if it involves some form of outreach, is part of missions. Every believer is a missionary in his or her setting.
Some Christians define missions broadly enough to include virtually any activity of the church, including ministering within local congregations, serving the poor and fighting injustice. Although this trend is often driven by good intentions, we are in danger of losing our focus on global discipleship if we don’t have specific vocabulary to describe it. Language evolves over time, but we should be asking ourselves, Does broadening the term “missions” lead to increased engagement in the task of taking the gospel to every people group on earth? We must also avoid defining missions too narrowly, in strictly geographic terms. Defining missions according to the Great Commission mandate does not limit us to only one type of ministry or relegate other activities to second class. Rather, it frees us to apply the full resources of the global Church to the work our Lord has given us.
Questions from the Book
- How have you heard the words “missions” and “missionary” used? In what ways does changing the meaning of these terms reshape our understanding of the Great Commission task? Would you say they are being preserved, redefined, replaced, or broadened?
- What alternative terms do you think might be suitable substitutes for “missions” and “missionary?”
- Are you drawn toward a concept of missions that includes every type of work for the kingdom of God? If so, why?
- Have you considered the importance of crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries as a part of the Great Commission? Have you ever felt drawn to do so yourself?
- What was your overall reaction to this chapter? Did you find it interesting? Challenging? Objectionable?
- In your own mind, is there a hierarchy of importance for different types of ministry? Which ones come out on top? What about in your church?
- Do you think calling every Christian a missionary motivates us to pursue the Great Commission more diligently? Or does it dilute our focus and distract us from the core task God has given us?
- How closely do you think missions is tied to geography? Did your opinion change as you read this chapter?
- What do you think would change about your life if you became a missionary in the traditional sense of that word? What would stay the same?
- What is your key takeaway from this week’s discussion? What are you going to do differently this week as a result of what you learned?