Mo / bi / lize

Brazil slumMobilization is a process. The simple definition of mobilize (mo / bi / lize) from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary states, “to bring (people) together for action, to come together for action, or to make (soldiers, an army, etc.) ready for war.”  According to this definition the point of mobilization is action. We do not simply want to talk about missions; we want to bring people together and make them ready to do missions. However, missions is not done just any way we choose. We mobilize people for action in missions in order to be biblically faithful and effective.

Biblically faithful missions is not missions, regardless of the good we may do, if the gospel is not central in what we do. Essential to biblically faithful missions is a clear presentation of the person and work of Jesus. People must know who He is and what He did for sinners.

Being biblically effective in missions is closely tied to being faithful in missions. If the gospel is unclear in our attempt at missions, then we can be sure our effectiveness in missions will be no greater than the work of the Salvation Army. While we are called to acts of mercy, we are no different than any other humanitarian organization if all we do is clothe, feed, shelter, or medicate. Effectiveness in missions is inseparable from faithfulness in missions—faithfulness to the gospel message.

Effectiveness is also closely connected to contextualization. A. Scott Moreau is helpful in his discussion on contextualization. Without desiring to oversimplify it, he states that contextualization “is to plant the universal gospel in local soil. It is not to change the gospel, but to plant it in such a way that what grows in local soil can be seen as a local plant. . . . Contextualization is what it takes to plant the gospel message and the life of the church into a particular setting (or context), whether it is in Barcelona or Beijing” (“Comprehensive Contextualization,” in Discovering the Mission of God, 406). Being effective in missions requires a careful understanding of the local context in order to reach the local people with the universal gospel. Learning culturally appropriate ways to engage people with the gospel is crucial for biblically effective missions to occur.

Mobilizing believers to be faithful and effective in missions is ultimately the responsibility of the local church. Whether sending long-term, mid-term, or short-term personnel on mission, churches must equip their people to be faithful and effective in the Great Commission. We can boil the Great Commission down to making disciples locally and globally for the glory of God. Each church is called to make disciples in their neighborhoods and in the nations (Matt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8). In other words, churches are tasked with mobilizing their people for global gospel impact.

 

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