BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR MISSION GLOBAL International Missions

BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR MISSION GLOBAL: RIGHT THINKING, RIGHT BEHAVIOUR, RIGHT ACTION

MURRAY CORNELIUS


“To glorify God by making disciples across cultural and linguistic boundaries by proclaiming and practising the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
—Mission Global’s Mission Statement

“Right thinking” will guide “right behaviour” and “right action.” A biblical foundation must fuel both our character and our mission strategy as we work around the world. The Bible makes it clear that the starting point for mission must not be found in our own initiatives or ideas. Rather, it must be rooted in the mission of God.

“All mission or missions which we initiate, or into which we invest our own vocation, gifts, and energies, flow from the prior and larger reality of the mission of God. God is on mission, and we, in that wonderful phrase of Paul, are ‘co-workers with God’ (1 Cor. 3:9).” 1

We have a firm commitment to the belief that God is at work in people and in communities long before we arrive to bring the good news. Our mission is simply an extension of the ministry of Jesus. He made it clear to His disciples that He was sending them to continue the work for which He had been sent. “ ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 20:21-22). Jesus identified Himself and declared His mission at the synagogue in Nazareth:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

God’s instruction to Paul was to get up and stand on his feet, for he was being sent “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18).

This biblical commitment to submit ourselves to God’s mission is not only critical for our global workers, but also for all believers. We place our missional efforts to make God’s love known in the world within God’s own will to be known and make Jesus’ last command our priority.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

I trust these fundamental biblical foundations will serve as a guide to global workers, pastors and leaders of churches, and every individual in our churches who desires to live missionally in our world today. I pray that every member of our churches will play their God-given part in fulfilling the mission of God so that Christ will be exalted among the nations.

A. For the Glory of God

God is our supreme passion, and His glory is our ultimate motivation.

The mission statement of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada begins with the phrase “to glorify God”! When we delight in God’s greatness and make His glory our focus, mission is the overflow. The driving purpose of our lives should be the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples. “Where passion for God is weak, zeal for mission will be weak.”2 It is our goal and prayer that the whole earth “be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD” (Habakkuk 2:14).

B. Who We Are

We ourselves are disciples of Christ.

Every worker is unique: “… God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). All are to be faithful in personal witness and sharing the gospel with those God brings to us.

Effective gospel workers must walk faithfully with Jesus Christ, abiding in Him and growing as His disciples. Abiding in Christ is necessary for personal holiness and for our strategic effectiveness as workers together with God. As we abide in Jesus, His Holy Spirit gifts us, empowers us, guides us, and does more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Without Christ, we can do nothing.

If our supreme goal is to glorify Him, we cannot separate our personal lives from our work lives (James 1:21–26). Our lives at home, our relationships, the attitudes of our heart, and our thought life must reflect the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We seek to glorify God in every area of our lives, not just through our ministry and work.

C. Our Strategic Focus

Paul noted that his ambition was “to preach the gospel where Christ was not known” (Romans 15:20). The vision of John was of a “multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). Jesus sent His disciples to all nations, but also reminded them that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Our two promises are to those who have little or no access to a credible witness of the gospel (3.1 billion) and to those with little or no access to the basic necessities of life (2 billion)—the least reached and the socio-economically vulnerable. These two groups of people largely overlap and often live in remote, difficult, and dangerous places. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ … And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

7 - Mission Global - Strategic Focus 

D. What We Do

  1. Making disciples is our North Star; planting healthy local churches is our means.
  2. Discipleship involves the transformation of the whole person: heart, soul, mind, will, affections, relationships, and life commitments. The planting of healthy churches led by Spirit-empowered and equipped local leaders is the primary means of ensuring the growth and maturity of all disciples of Christ. The church is to be a transforming community of reconciliation and blessing in the world, and the most effective way to advance the gospel is to plant healthy churches that multiply.

    A healthy church of faithful followers of Jesus will be a foretaste of the kingdom of God, where peace and harmony rule, justice is the order of the day, equality of being and human dignity have a high place, and all people have equal access to God’s bountiful creation. The Holy Spirit empowers the church to live the future now, demonstrating in proclamation and practice what the future will look like when Christ is fully present.

    All churches need equipped and empowered leaders. Working together with local indigenous leaders, we establish church movements that are self-governing, self-supporting, self-theologizing,3 and self-propagating. Paul instructed Timothy that “the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). The training of pastors and leaders in partnership with local churches ensures that we conserve the harvest. Our teams include our local partners alongside whom we submit in mutual service.

  3. We proclaim and practise the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    1. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message we carry to the world.
    2. God rescues people from the dominion of darkness and brings them into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of the Son He loves, a kingdom of redemption and forgiveness (Colossians 1:13-14). God answered the human predicament by sending Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection comprise the central message of the Bible. Jesus is our substitute who triumphed over sin and death on the cross and through His resurrection. In the person of the Son, Jesus Christ, God offered Himself on the cross, the symbol of His love, and provided the way of salvation for those who, by God’s grace, repent of their sin and confess their faith in Jesus Christ. The entire Bible bears witness to this self-giving, loving movement of God toward fallen humanity, people created in His image, whose waywardness separated them from their loving Creator.

    3. The gospel is integral and holistic.

    We both proclaim the gospel in word and demonstrate its truth in deed. Our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. Our practice, our social engagement, has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ through our deeds. Our practice includes proclamation whenever possible, and our proclamation is salted with justice and mercy in practice. “What does the LORD require of [us]? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).

    “We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited.”4

  4. The Holy Spirit is our guide and our source of empowerment for witness.
  5. We fulfil God’s mission in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Our world view reflects a supernaturalist orientation, and we believe that gospel witness is accompanied by signs and wonders. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers our speech and works miracles, signs and wonders to accompany and confirm the witness of His disciples (Acts 5:12; Galatians 3:5). It is the Spirit who draws all people to Himself, and it is the Spirit who makes clear God’s call and will and guides our steps. We are committed to listening to the Spirit and collectively discerning God’s will and direction as we make strategic decisions.

  6. We are committed to contextualizing the message as we cross cultural and linguistic boundaries.

The gospel message makes itself at home in any culture while at the same time challenging and transforming every culture. Our goal is not to impose Canadian or Western culture, but to allow the pure gospel to engage in culturally appropriate ways and transform new disciples to be biblically faithful followers of Jesus Christ. The church should look, sound and feel local.

We are called to follow the model of Jesus, who came and made Himself at home in this world and dwelt among us (John 1:14). We respect all cultures, but we distance ourselves from any forms of cultural Christianity that dishonour God. Our identity, as well as the identity of all new believers, is found first in our relationship to Christ and His church. Our cultural heritage, and that of any new followers of Jesus, is respected and valued to the extent that it is neutral as it relates to the expectations God has placed on us.

Conclusion:

God’s mission given to us is:

  • to reach lost people wherever they are, delivering them from the bondage and oppression of this world and Satan
  • to plant communities of godly people whose transformed lives are light and salt in the world
  • to equip and empower them to know their God intimately, living in His presence and walking in His power
  • and, as God’s people, to care for all of God’s creation, bringing compassion to people in crisis and the shalom of God to our communities and neighbours.
Together we can!

 

Mission Global Promise Statements

We promise to passionately pursue every opportunity and use every means possible to give those with little or no access to the gospel an opportunity to hear the message of hope that is Jesus, a message that offers them reconciliation with their Creator. We promise to sensitively seek Christ-centred holistic, sustainable solutions to injustice and poverty and to help build communities of Jesus followers that reconcile the vulnerable and the marginalized with their God, their communities, and their fellow humankind.

Impact Statement

The establishment of self-sustaining, multiplying church movements and ministries that reflect the compassionate heart of Jesus for their communities, nations, and the world.


Murray Cornelius is the executive director of Mission Global. This article appeared in the October/November/December 2022 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2022 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Diagram © Mission Global. Photo © istockphoto.com.


  1. Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 531.
  2. John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 12.
  3. Reading Scripture in light of a culture’s questions. Oxford Languages defines indigeneity as the fact of originating or occurring naturally in a particular place. The principle of indigeneity in ministry has historically referred to the development of self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing churches. In recent years, the term self-theologizing has been added to refer to developing a theology based on Scripture from the vantage point of one’s own culture and language.
  4. “The Lausanne Covenant,” 5. Christian Social Responsibility, 1974, Lausanne Movement, accessed July 18, 2022, https://lausanne.org/content/covenant/lausanne-covenant#cov.

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