The Mission Bridge
By Larry d. Wright
Are you ready for a real surprise? The words mission, missions, missionary or my favorite word missional are not found in the Bible. The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance goes from missed to mist and the word mission is conspicuously absent. I find that fact surprising but it doesn’t trouble me.
I believe there is a clear reason why the word missions is not found in the Bible. The Bible is not a book about systematic theology but a journal of the theology of missions in action. The Bible is the record of God in action accomplishing salvation for all mankind. Actually, the Bible ascribes only one intention to God: to redeem and restore mankind. We capture that intention with the word missions.
If you want to know what beats in the heart of God, it is missions. I love what one person said, “God had only one Son, and He made Him a missionary.”
Jesus Himself said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) The last command from His lips expressed the desire of His heart. The first two letters of gospel spell “Go!”
If you want to know the hope of mankind, it is missions. Without the gospel, man is helpless and hopeless.
The story is told of an agnostic professor who visited the Fiji Islands. The professor remarked to an elderly chief, “You are a great leader, but it is a pity you have been victimized by those Christian missionaries. No one believes the Bible anymore. People are tired of the story of Christ dying on cross for the sins of mankind. We know better now. I am sorry you were manipulated to accept their story.”
The old chief’s eyes flashed with passion as he answered, “See that great rock over there? On it we smashed the heads of our victims. Notice the furnace next to it? In that oven we used to roast the bodies of our victims. If it wasn’t for the love of those missionaries and the message they brought that changed us from cannibals to Christians, you would our next supper.”
If you want to know the health of the church, it is missions. The orders of our Commander-n-Chief make our mission clear: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” There is an important premise we should never forget: Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone. He has chosen to use us.
First Baptist Church has no reason to exist apart from the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. His command gave birth to our existence. It defines our reason to exist and clarifies our mission. Simply, the mission of the church is missions.
When God loved, He loved the world. When the Father gave His Son, He gave His Son for the world. When the Son died, He died for the world. God’s vision is the world. Our mission is to build a bridge from Florence, Alabama to reach the world.
There is a bridge across Panther Creek in Western Kentucky built by the United States government. It was a source of pride and a symbol of recovery. Today the bridge looks as new as the day in which it was built because it bares only the weight of itself. There is no road leading to it or from it.
I suggest that a bridge that does not carry traffic is not a bridge. It is a structure with no appropriate name. And a church that is not missional is group of people but not a church.
The Coca-Cola motto visable in the company headquarters explains their incredible success. It reads: THINK GLOBALLY, BUT ACT LOCALLY. Long before Coca-Cola was a dream, Jesus said, “Begin in Florence and don’t stop until you have reached the end of the earth.” That is the Mission Bridge.