“If everything is missions then nothing is missions.” [Stephen Neill]

Over the last decade (or so) especially, there has been various church growth  trends and strategies affecting the direction of the church.  A more recent trend, popularly called the “Emerging Church” (or “Emergent”) has taken hold churches of various backgrounds ranging from more liturgical to more independent to young adults and Millenials….etc.  While these newer trends share many of the same characteristics, there is no one unified body of beliefs that identifies them. In many cases, it is not uncommon to find these groups starting out with noble goals of engaging a changing culture.  In practical terms, this can include a goal of attracting those within a changing society by offering change in the way the church is conducted.  Change can include a change of focus, emphasis, doctrine, roles, definitions, purpose…etc.

One aspect of this is seen today by how some utilize the word “missions“.  Some today will attach a new meaning of the word to represent something different than either what the Bible clearly teaches or from a historical point of view from what the church has taught in the past.

The following is a sermon by Pastor Rock Dillaman from Allegheny Center Alliance Church on October 16, 2016.  He looks at the word “mission” and shows how it’s meaning today is being changed by others within the church.  What are the ramifications for doing this?  Why is this issue important to the church today?  

The sermon is titled – “What’s in a Word?”

The  sermon video can be seen here on October 16, 2016 – http://www.acac.net/index.cfm/PageID/859/index.html#

Sermon Notes:

Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

1. Words by themselves are just empty suitcases; their power comes from the meaning packed into them.

2. Satan continually seeks to corrupt the meaning of God’s words and distort God’s definitions.

3. Satan attacks the meaning of God’s words in the minds of God’s saints. We’re called to the continual renewing of our minds because our minds are continually under attack. (Romans 12:2)

4. Satan seeks to distort the meaning of the word “missions” so the church isn’t clear about its mission.

5. “Missions” is the activity of set apart messengers sent out to other cultures for the purpose of communicating God’s truth to people who’ve never heard it.

6. “If everything is missions then nothing is missions.” [Stephen Neill]

7. A specific task can be lost in a generalized command.

8. “Missions” needs to be specific or the specifics of mission may be lost altogether.

9. “Missions” involves people who have been set apart by the Holy Spirit.

10. “Missions” involves people who have been sent out beyond the immediate boundaries of the local church. It introduces God’s kingdom in places where it’s currently unknown. (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 13:2-4)

11. Outreach is the church making an impact where it is. “Missions” is the church making an impact by going where it isn’t.

12. The work of mission is not only hindered by vague definitions; it’s hindered by false dichotomies.


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