Serving as Senders

There are no by-standers enlisted in the Great Commission. Everyone called by Christ is called both to Christ and to engage in the Missio Dei – the Mission of God in this world. 

That is not a new concept. I suspect few who have spent even the minimalist time in an Evangelical church would be able to honestly say that they have not heard the above statement, or at least something very, very close.  The question, however, that people seem to stumble over is: What is MY Part?

While there are several ways this can be answered, for the sake of simplicity in this post I will divide the roles into two categories:

  • Some people are Goers
  • Some people are Senders

Obviously some people will do both. But never should a Christian do neither.  Some go on short-term mission trips, and in that way, at least, many are goers.  But in the strictest sense of the roles, most of us short-termers cannot consider ourselves actual “Go-ers”. That should be reserved for those who commit to long-term cross cultural service. 

The role of the typical church member, and of local church missions committees, is to be Senders. But while that may be easy enough to understand, what seems to stump many people, and many committees, is a clear definition of what it means to be a Sender. 

Missiologist Neil Pirolo has penned a very helpful book: Serving as Senders. In this book Pirolo outlines the parameters of being a Sender.  You get the idea even by simply thinking about the outline of the Chapters:

  1. The Need for Senders
  2. Moral Support
  3. Logistics Support
  4. Financial Support
  5. Prayer Support
  6. Communication Support
  7. Re-Entry Support
  8. Your Part in the BIG Picture

While the book is short, and certainly not exhaustive even on this subject, Pirolo’s thoughts are a great starting point. I plan to provide a copy for members of the missions committee at our church.

Serving as Senders is also available as a free e-book. Click the link above, or click: Senders.

Some Aspects of Sin

Something I have long found intriguing: In the opening chapter of his book, HolinessJ.C. Ryle dedicates his entire attention to the subject of Sin. At first I wondered why that was. Eventually I realized that we cannot grow in holiness unless we understand our very real condition and the effects it has on us.  

Just what is sin, though?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines it this way:

Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the Law of God

According to Richard Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament, Sin is decribed in the Bible as having at least eight different aspects:

  1. Missing the Mark or Aim; Falling Short
  2. Passing Over or Transgressing a Line
  3. Disobedience to a Voice
  4. Falling When One Should Have Stood Upright
  5. Ignorance of What One Should Have Known
  6. Diminishing of that which Should Have Been Rendered in Full
  7. Non-observance of a Law
  8. Discord in the Harmonies of God’s Universe.

That last one is also described by Cornelius Plantinga as “A Violation of Shalom”.  (See: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be.)

Understanding our condition of sin is as important to our overcoming it and growing in holiness as it is for those with some form of cancer to understand their condition and its effects so they know how to treat it and beat it. My father-in-law, while fighting a rare lymphoma, used to say: “Be as nasty to your cancer as your cancer is to you.”  Not only is that good advice for cancer patients, but it is good advice applied to those of us who are infected by sin. This is known as “mortifying” our sin or “dying” to sin.