Do you know what you’re on about?
13 Nov 2017
I remember hearing the story of a father and son sitting on their porch one warm summer evening. The child was fascinated by the sound of crickets chirping, while the father listened to a choir singing in a nearby church. Trying to lead his son into a deeper appreciation of the arts, the father said, “Son, isn’t that heavenly music?” “Yes,” replied the boy, “and I understand they do it by rubbing their legs together.”
This father and son had a problem! The words they used were plain enough, but they struggled with communication and understanding. Likewise, for missionaries to be effective, they need to understand the gospel in order to communicate it with others.
An effective missionary understands the gospel
It is impossible to know how much knowledge there is in the world. In 2011, scientists calculated humankind can store 295,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of information. In 2013, knowledge was said to be doubling every 13 months, with predictions it would soon double every 12 hours. No human being can know more than a miniscule fraction of all there is to know.
Of all the things any man, woman or child anywhere in the world could know, nothing is more important, more powerful, and more needed than the gospel. It is the most significant information anyone, at any time, and anywhere could know. It is news that changes lives now… and forever. Here’s a summary of it: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Cor 15:3-4).
That is the gospel in a nutshell. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus has made a way for sinful people to be reconciled to a holy God. In fact, there is no other way. Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, came into the world to save sinners.
If you understand that, you are on your way to become an effective communicator of news that changes eternal destinies, and glorifies God in ways you can hardly imagine.
An effective missionary communicates the gospel
The gospel message never changes. Effective missionaries proclaim it in word and deed. They use innovative means to gain access and minister effectively to least reached peoples. They find ways to speak words of life, calling people to consider the claims of Jesus, while valuing flexibility and sensitivity in the communication process. They don’t demand every person must believe the message; that’s between human beings and God. They simply know that people, having been made in the image of God, are precious, and deserve the right to decide for themselves what they will do with the gospel of Jesus.
One of the world’s most effective missionaries said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, it is the power of God that leads to salvation” (Rom 1:16). Of all the good things a Christian can do with his or her life, speaking the gospel is the most profound. The gospel is the power of God! People whose lives have been forever transformed by it, understand something of that power, and want to let others know of it too.
There is no more important news. And every person in the world needs to hear it.