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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




All He Commands

By Randy Hurst
Jan. 6, 2013

Serving under the lordship of Jesus Christ requires complete obedience to all He commands. 

The four distinctives of our mission were not defined by a strategy committee. They were the consequence of obedience to the commands of Scripture and the leading of the Spirit. By simply obeying the Word and the Spirit, our early missionary leaders became strategic.

In 1982, our fourfold mission was formalized: evangelism, establishing indigenous churches, training national believers, and demonstrating the compassion of Christ to the poor and suffering. But our missionaries fulfilled these four distinctives long before our mission statement was officially established.

It is especially significant that the compassion component of our mission was specifically stated back in 1982. It would not be until 29 years later at the 2011 General Council under Dr. George Wood’s leadership that the Fellowship’s mission statement was expanded to include compassion.

In 1997 our mission statement was simplified to express our mission in four simple words: reaching, planting, training and touching.

Reaching

If it is true that every person will face eternity and Jesus is the Savior of the world, then everyone must be told. It’s that simple.

About 1 in 3 Americans claims to know Christ, compared with 1 in 7 in Brazil, 1 in 15 in China, 1 in 50 in India, 1 in 200 in Thailand, and 1 in 20,000 in Turkey.

It is unacceptable that the message of Jesus has not been adequately presented to more than two-thirds of the world’s population and that so many hear the message again and again when others have never heard it even once. Like the apostle Paul, we must seek to proclaim the good news where Christ has not been named.

Planting

We are called not only to reap a worldwide harvest, but also to conserve it.

In 1921, our leaders determined that our mission would be guided by “New Testament practices” and “seek to establish self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing native churches”(known today as simply “indigenous churches”) that develop and multiply to reach the lost.

Training

The apostle Paul instructed Timothy: “The things which you have heard from me … entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”1

Confidence in the Spirit’s power to call and enable national leadership led Assemblies of God missionaries to organize ministry training institutions all over the world. Currently, more than 2,000 Bible schools and extension programs are preparing more than 110,000 students in 144 countries for ministry.

Touching

Unless the needs of man’s eternal soul are addressed, any effort to meet his physical and social needs is both incomplete and temporary.

From our beginning, missionaries have reached out to the poor and suffering. Why? Because the commands of God’s Word and the Spirit of Christ within them would not allow them to “pass by on the other side” when seeing someone in need. Historically, many missions organizations diluted their missionary purpose and became agencies of social reform at the exclusion of proclaiming the gospel. For us, compassion ministry is always integrated with sharing the gospel and establishing the church.

Engaging in a worldwide mission is not easy, but it is simple: obedience. To be committed to accomplishing our Lord’s mission means being submitted to His lordship. Obeying merely part of His commands to His Church is intolerable.

The four facets of our mission — reaching, planting, training and touching — are not separate objectives but an integrated and comprehensive plan. They are biblical mandates that we strive to fulfill.

The heart of our mission is to establish the Church through indigenous fellowships around the world. Each facet of our mission is important, but what is distinctive is how all four work together to achieve our primary objective. We will continue to obey the biblical mandates that comprise our fourfold mission until our Lord returns to gather His Church from the four corners of the earth.2

1) 2 Timothy 2:2, NASB

2) Revelation 7:1


RANDY HURST is director of AGWM Communications.

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