The commission of evangelism is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Missions and evangelism are required simply because mankind has forgotten the purpose of his creation. God’s original purpose for mankind was to have a creation that would freely choose to worship Him. It is almost unnecessary to reiterate that mankind as a population has mostly failed in this endeavor. Had mankind remained faithful to God’s purpose, everyone would be worshiping God; however, because of sin, a distant gap formed between God and His creation. Christ came to earth to fill that gap by offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin. “…for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world…” (John 12:47). Yet, in order for mankind to return to God, one must hear the message of the cross and believe. This is the purpose of missions and evangelism.
With the completion of the Great Commission yet looming in the future of the Church, it is necessary to recognize that there is much work to be accomplished. However, before an individual or a local church body can grasp a zeal for missionary endeavors, they must recognize and understand the purpose of missions. This includes having an awareness of the what, why, who, where, when, and how of the Great Commission. Solomon writes, “Good understanding giveth favor…” (Proverbs 13:15). In order to be effective in the missions endeavors, we must have a good understanding of the impending missions work in the fields of harvest. Christ’s commission will be carried out in its entirety prior to His return to rapture the saints.
What is Evangelism?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines evangelism and missions as the act or an instance of sending. Furthermore, it is a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work designed to convert the un-churched or quicken the Christian faith. Missions involve the spreading of the true message of the Gospel along with the working of the true Spirit. The fundamental purpose of missions can be summarized in one word – go. Strong’s Concordance suggests that the word go in the Great Commission originated from the Greek word poreuomai meaning to traverse by virtue of departing. Each of these verbs implies active association. Missionary and evangelistic undertakings are not passive ministries. They require dynamic participation by believers.
Interestingly, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary proposes the meaning of traverse as to go or travel; it also means to go against or act in opposition to a particular adversary. Evangelistic ministry is simply one element in the Church’s war against Satan’s forces. We are not fighting man in our attempt to win the lost; rather, we seek to reclaim the sinful humanity for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Missions and evangelism should never be viewed as strictly an earthly matter because its fight resides in the spiritual realm. Therefore, the Church cannot afford to rely on earthly tactics when engaging in ministry.