ArticleChurch Life & Ministry

Doing Missions Requires Boots on the Ground

There is a direct correlation between the number of people who have an opportunity to be saved and the number of churches who send missionaries.

Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth installment in seven-part SendOne devotional series. Download the full devotional or learn more about SendOne.


What do missionaries do anyway?

Imagine a paratrooper who drops into enemy-occupied territory in a warzone. What does he have to do to survive? Everything.

Certainly, the paratrooper receives military support. Artillery. Airstrikes. Recon. Intel. But he will ultimately be the man to kick down the doors, pull innocents out of buildings, and bring the citizens to safety.

Missionaries face a similar situation in gospel warfare. They need financial support. They need prayer. They need resources. They need to be able to plan for their future the way a conventional career would afford them.

But there is a real sense in which missionaries must be trained all-around to do “everything” else themselves. And at the end of the day, in spiritual combat, they have a simple calling: they must preach the gospel themselves. Boldly. Verbally. Faithfully.

Paul articulates a similar mindset in Romans 10:13-14:

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:13-14)

There are critical truths here for churches to reflect upon as they consider sending a missionary.

The gospel is essential to salvation.

If the gospel weren’t essential, missions wouldn’t exist. It wouldn’t be necessary. But the gospel is essential. Therefore, missions is an urgent and important endeavor.

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” What’s the implication here? Those who don’t call on the name of the Lord will not be saved.

Paul sees this as a crisis. And he is a man on a mission to bring the message of Jesus Christ to as many cities, peoples, and tribes as possible.

And from the pages of Scripture, Paul still charges our church—from now until the return of Christ—to carry on his work. At the root of his mission is the unchanging truth that Jesus Christ is “the way and the truth and the life” and that “no one comes to the Father” but through him (John 14:6-7).

Sending is essential to making that salvation available to others.

Having established the necessity of the gospel, Paul walks the Roman believers through the logic of sending:

  • People need to hear the gospel.

  • … But how are they going to hear it if no one goes? …

  • … And how is anyone going to go if they aren’t sent? …

Paul’s point is clear: There is a direct correlation between the number of people who have an opportunity to be saved and the number of churches who send missionaries.

Does your church or ministry’s vision or philosophy of missions reflect this truth?

Churches that care about the lost send missionaries.

The local church should be busy in the work of sending. In an ideal scenario, your church should have at least one missionary that it fully supports as an extension of its own local mission.

That missionary should have a passion for evangelism, a gifting for industriousness and self-motivation, and a solid conviction about the exclusive and saving work of Jesus Christ.

Have you sent boots on the ground?

Are you directly connected with missions work going on right now?

Are you working to meet peoples’ real-time need for the gospel in every nation?

About the Author

P.C. Maxwell is a writer and theologian. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor’s in biblical languages from Moody Bible Institute. He resides in the Chicago area with his wife and contributes regularly to ABWE’s blog and communications strategy.

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