The Church speaks the language of mission but uses more than one dictionary.

Eckhard J. Schnabel observes this matter when he writes, “Many exegetical studies on missions fail to indicate which notion of mission is used or presupposed” (Early Christian Mission: Jesus and the Twelve, 11). Consider even the most traditional and conservative evangelical pastors will announce on Sunday the youth choir’s “missions trip” will take place next year as they go to Appalachia to sing in the worship services of another church, and the “men on mission” will be doing “missions” in Honduras this summer by installing a roof on a school. But today they are to pray for the “missionaries” planting churches in the Middle East among an unreached people.

Confusion exists with the modern language of mission. The Church now engages in missions even if the gospel is never shared.

I have the privilege of presenting a paper today at the Southeast Regional Evangelical Missiological Society, and want to share my paper with you. The pdf linked below is from my forthcoming book Apostolic Imagination: Recovering a Biblical Vision for the Church’s Mission Today (Baker Academic).

“Communication Breakdown: Speaking the Language of Mission while Using Different Dictionaries”

This post written by J.D. Payne and originally posted at, and used by permission of J.D. Payne.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash.