God is the initiator of mission to the world. Mission is not accidental to God but flows from God’s very nature and reflects his nature as God, for God is love and seeks to be reconciled with mankind. We cannot escape this mandate or ignore it because if we truly desire to serve God and please him, we will want to do that which is explicitly his will and mission, which is to carry the gospel across every barrier and to witness within every culture and nation. In the process of fulfilling this mission, we will experience suffering and persecution.
God is also the sustainer of mission to the world because mission is totally dependent upon his power and resources. Mission must be filled with the presence and participation of God. He has willfully placed at our disposal the power and means necessary to accomplish the task for which He has assigned us. He has given us his Holy Spirit and so that he himself becomes our resource.
God has chosen to work through his willing servants who will accomplish the task for him. In his sovereignty and eternal wisdom he has chosen those who have become the recipients of his grace to be the avenues of grace to other persons and peoples. So the mission of God becomes subject to the willingness, obedience, and faithfulness as the people of God to do his mission and to utilize the resources that he has provided.
The church, then, participates in the mission of God by being obedient to its call to be salt and light in the world. Since mission is a part of the nature and will of God, anyone who receives the nature of God would, it stands to reason, willingly be a part of God’s mission to the world. To be a follower of God in Christ is to accept the responsibility of his mission. It is not a matter of personal interest or inclination or even of personal calling. There is a global task given by God and all who are truly followers of God will be intimately involved in the fulfillment of this task in some capacity. There are some who are called to specific tasks within the missional community but all are called to be active participants in his mission. The authority for ‘doing mission’ or the commission to embark upon a mission does not ultimately come from the church but from the Lord of the church. God calls for his people to disperse through the world in order to identify with and to bear the news of salvation to the peoples of the earth. It is a divine dispersion in which his people go on a pilgrimage to the peoples of the world.
Missions should reflect God-likeness since mission flows out of the nature of God. The goals, strategies, purposes, means, and methods of missions should reflect God. Since God’s ways are not man’s ways, we need to reconsider what God’s ways are in fulfilling his mission. God leads and directs mission in a manner appropriate to his nature. God sets the agenda and He will guide us in the proper means of the working out of this agenda.