Always renewal. Always mission.
As a new missionary, but experienced church planter, my family and I moved to Ireland. In a short time, I was struggling to believe the gospel of grace that I had moved to Ireland to share. As a result, I came to this important conclusion: We can't take the gospel to others unless we know it for ourselves first.
In a crucible of brokenness, strife, and conflict, I became convinced that “the gospel is the power of God for salvation” and that meant that it was powerful enough even to change Christians! And pastors! And teammates who couldn’t get along with each other. I came to believe in the power of the gospel not just to save but also to transform and send us on mission. This forms the core of my teaching today - it also informs the work of Serge (formerly called World Harvest Mission) with whom I serve as the Director of Mission.
As we struggle with our own unbelief, in our conflict with our family and coworkers, and as we forget just how much God loves us - we are always pushed back to the gospel for new forgiveness and strength to renew our calling.
Mission work makes us need the gospel more, not less. And the better we know the love of God, the more we want to reach out to others.
At Serge, we work hard to help our staff to stay centered on the gospel. We are always being renewed and always on mission. God's mission is a renewing mission.
Today more than ever, I see ongoing, daily renewal, and sacrificial mission as inseparable parts of one whole response. As we learn to live by the same gospel grace that we are making known to others, we are being equipped for good works to bless those around us with a taste of who God is in every part of our lives and - as the Church - in every part of the world.
Our continuing pursuit of renewing mission—God renews us by His grace to reach out with love. This isn’t just for the “professional” missionary. Every believer can find the power of the gospel at work renewing mission.
That doesn’t mean that everyone’s part in God’s mission is going to look the same, though. For some it will mean serving in their country of origin, for others it means foreign lands. For some work in God’s mission is quiet, even hidden. Others serve in more visible and public ways. But together God’s grace renews us all and sends us all. And as we step out in faith to love, to give, to obey, to go, we see again and again our deep need for God’s grace in our own lives.
For more than 30 years now I have seen God’s willingness to use even me and other weak people who believe the power of the gospel to do amazing things.
What is Gospel-Centered Ministry?
The gospel is God’s power for salvation in a way that can touch every part of each believer’s life. The gospel isn’t simply the door to a new relationship with God and the promise of eternal life. It is also the power that transforms us to be more like Christ as he increasingly draws us into his own mission to redeem and restore a lost and broken world. This fundamental commitment grounds us in gospel-centered ministry:
We need the gospel everyday just as much as those we are trying to reach.