Missional Activity is NOT Optional for Christians

As I read the interesting discussion/debate among bloggers concerning missional activities and the meaning of the term “missional”–there is a curious observation to be made. Many Christians talk about participating in missional activity as if it were a choice you had. Practicing missional behaviors is not optional for a follower of Jesus. Missional activity isn’t a choice. It’s a reality.

There is a huge global mission field, and the only way to reach those who are far from Christ is for each believer to adopt missionary behaviors–to incarnationally display the gospel–to be Jesus to everyone everywhere!

When Jesus told His followers, “Go and make disciples”–it was an imperative. When He told His disciples, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”–there’s an obvious connection between following and fishing for men. If a believer is following Jesus, He expects them to be fishing.

Missional Activity is NOT Optional for Christians.


Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
3 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    How do you debate foreign missions versus homeland missions here in the US. The numbers of people groups unreached in other countries seems far greater than that of the US. My son is studying this debate and I am trying to get some feedback for him.

  2. DaveDV
    DaveDV says:

    Check out http://www.peoplegroups.info. It is a great site for researching people groups in the U.S.

    Here are some additional facts to consider:
    • The percentage of adults in the U.S. who attend church is decreasing (dropped 9% from 1990 to 2001).
    • In the past fifty years, U.S. churches have failed to gain an additional 2 percent of the American population.
    • Roughly half of all churches in America did not add one new person through conversion growth last year.
    • In the U.S., it takes the combined efforts of 85 Christians working over an entire year to produce one convert.
    • The number of unchurched has almost doubled from 1991 to 2004.
    • More churches are closing than are opening every year. Almost three times as many churches are closing (3,750) as are opening (1,300).
    • Conversions to other religions and dropouts from Christianity are increasing.
    o In 1900, there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans o In 1950, there were 17 churches for every 10,000 Americans o In 2000, there were 12 churches for every 10,000 Americans o In 2004, there were 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans
    • The U.S. is the largest mission field in the Western hemisphere.
    • The U.S. is the fifth largest mission field on earth.
    • Eighty to 85 percent of American churches are on the downside of their life cycle.
    • The church needs to wake up and stop waiting for people to come to church and start taking the gospel to people.

    Here’s the reality – The United States is a mission field!
    Christians in America need to adopt missionary thinking and behaviors to reach those without Christ in the culture around them.

    I don’t think there should be a debate of foreign missions versus homeland missions. Both are necessary.

    Missionaries are needed to transform America. Local churches must prepare missionaries for both global and local ministry. Jesus is the One who sends; local churches are to prepare those whom He is sending. Every believer is sent somewhere—either to their local culture or to a distant culture. George W. Peters (former professor of world missions at Dallas Theological Seminary) notes,
    “The Bible does not make such geographical distinctions in connection with the call to the ministry of the Word. Certainly the apostles were not aware of the fact that they all would be led into “foreign missions” when the Lord called them and appointed them to apostleship. The choice of the geographical area of service is a matter of individual leading, but not a matter of the call. The Bible does not distinguish between a call for the home field and a call for the foreign field.”

    I’d love to read the paper your son writes. Please email it to me when he is finished. Thanks!

    [email protected]

  3. Diana
    Diana says:

    I will further add that I was shocked when I found out that Christians from here, the Netherlands, went on a missions trip to America. You can say it’s one of those nice, cushy places to go but they worked in the inner city of Philadelphia with a homeless ministry. It really made me sad and opened my eyes to the fact that America is indeed a mission field and in need of missionaries. While I see this country as needing missionaries, and know some here, Christians here see people’s need in America that the government doesn’t take care of like here, can’t believe it in the richest country of the world, and see it as an opportunity to share Christ with others.

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