Leaving Home is at the Heart of Mission, Part I

February 16, 2011


Want to change the world?  Leave home.  Tell the folks ‘goodbye’ and your friends ‘see ya later’.  Get used to different foods, a different climate, new cultures, languages, and ways of doing things.  It seems to be God’s way.

Believers in Scripture Who Left Home

Abraham left Ur to father a church-planting movement in the cradle of creation.  Moses left his home twice:  first the house of pharaoh in Egypt and then the house of Jethro in the Sinai in order to bring two million wanderers to their planned community of promise.


Daniel found himself on mission while in captivity.  Joseph was forced into foreign exile so that God could use him to change two nations, Egypt and Israel.

Biblical Teaching Focused on Going

I’m not saying that you can’t impact the world in your neighborhood.  God’s call to stay home is as sure as the call to go to a foreign land but the biblical emphasis is on those who go and those who are sent.  Why?  Here are two reasons.

Those Who Go Are More Dependent on God

First, those who go have to be more dependent on God. If you can’t the speak the language and you don’t know where to shop, you trust the Lord for the little things in life that you would normally take for granted back home.  When a missionary leads someone to Christ, she knows she had little to do with it.  She showed up and God did a miracle.

When I have preached effectively overseas it was because I was trusting in God.  When I have preached effectively in the US it is because I had a good sermon outline and delivery.

Those Who Go Seek the Lost

The second reason the Bible emphasizes ‘going’ is that God is the seeker of the lost, not the other way around.  In America we say “build it and they will come.”  In cross-cultural settings we say “I’m here to tell you.”  God is active.  He came to the earth.  He sends his people from one context to another.

Paul was a goer.  A centerpiece of his theology was to go so that he could take the gospel to new places.  “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).

Leaving home is at the heart of mission.

Missionaries Have to Be Sent

Paul didn’t go on his own.  He was sent by a church.  The classic sending passage shows Christians who heard from God in their worship time so strongly that they laid their hands on two of their members and sent them on a mission trip (Acts 13).

When I started seminary twenty years ago I was told that 95% of my classmates would get jobs in white suburban middle class churches.  What about the rest of the world?  Who would go to China?  Who would serve among the Gypsies?  Who would tackle the Buddhist, Hindu, tribal, secular, and Islamic blocks of the world?

Part II of Leaving Home is at the Heart of Mission

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  1. Leaving Home is at the Heart of Mission, Part II « FULFILL - February 24, 2011

    […] Part I of Leaving Home is at the Heart of Mission […]

  2. The Desire of the Sending Church « FULFILL - June 3, 2011

    […] world into their presence.  Other times, the people of God go to the people of the world because leaving home is at the heart of mission.  The Great Commission says that ‘while we are going’ we are to teach, disciple and […]

  3. God’s Sabbath Rest Encounters Human Trafficking (Guest Post) « FULFILL - December 6, 2011

    […] Read more about leaving home:  Leaving Home Is at The Heart of Mission […]

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