Personal Missions Statement
by Rev. Orb L. Austin Th.M., D.D., Ph.D., Dr.Min.
Presented by Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies
I have been a missionary for about twelve years serving in the following countries: The United States, United Kingdom, Eire, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, The Netherlands, Northern Belgium, northern Italy and finally Germany where I am currently serving and in all these countries one will come across different languages, ideologies and cultures. Even with Christians in these other lands viewpoints and aspects of Christianity differ but in true service to Jesus Christ there always should be a set of guidelines to follow and a standard to live by. Of course, we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit but for most of us who are always in a position to give a reason for what we are doing we have a personal missions statement. I would call it a synopsis of the total of Christianity in a few paragraphs.
My personal missions statement, along with explanations, goes as follows:
Go where the people are: In many ways this can be a missionary call to go directly to the people or even to associate and be with people at the place where they are at. The danger is that there can be association that 'people' tends to mean those we agree with politically, religiously, socially and morally. We are uncomfortable around people who are not like us and it can be easy to surround ourselves with who we are comfortable with and get tunnel-visioned to others around us. We need to remember that Jesus kept with the company of 'tax collectors and sinners' and in our day and age that could be aprostitute, gang member, homosexual, someone from a different race and so fourth. I believe many Christians fear being around these people because they believe they can be corrupted in some way and thus bring shame to God and Christ. It is good for us to keep in mind that God does not need our help in protecting His reputation. He has done it without our help for thousands of years and He will continue to do so. He does charge us, however, to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is where GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE fits in for me.
Serve the leadership of the church and community: God expects us as Christians to respect the leadership that has been placed over and around us. No one can really escape being under the leadership of someone be that from Jesus Christ to your boss, supervisor or teacher. People in leadership have a great responsibility and they are answerable to God according to Scripture and what better way to show the Love of God in Christ Jesus in a practical way than to be a responsible citizen, employee, student and so on. In service to leadership of the church and community two things go hand in hand: Respect and Integrity. On both the side of the leader and non-leader. How can I respect those over me if they don't respect me and how can I be respected as a Leader if I do not respect those under me? The only thing that gets you respect is respect and the only thing that gets you integrity is integrity. This can be achieved in no other way and we must remember that a real leadership position is not something we can buy, borrow or steal but comes with respect and integrity. One of the things that has helped me better understand and put into practical application giving respect and integrity is placing myself in the others' shoes and responding with the words of Jesus: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is where SERVE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY fits in for me
Live a life worthy of our call: As Christians we are responsible with how we conduct ourselves in terms of our behavior. Not in that we must be good little boys and girls or we will embarass Daddy. As mentioned God can protect His reputation but we as human beings cannot protect our own. It is true that we are sinners and we are going to stumble and make mistakes but this is not an excuse for not having a dedication, a personal on-purpose dedication to carry out what Christ has called us to do. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself". If we act with our individual behaviors contrary to this call we are not being complete, we are not being what God has made us to be, we are robbing ourselves of the eternal life beginning here on earth and we are robbing others of the same thing. One thing I like to do to give me perspective is I take the section in I Corinthians 13 where it lists Love is patient, love is kind...and I replace 'love' with my name and see if this is true. I may be doing well if
I am patient and kind and so forth but if I keep record of wrongs then I need to examine my individual behaviors and seek with God's love and help to change that. I need to work on what I can't change and trust that in Christlikeness I will be molded. This is LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF OUR CALL fits in for me.
So now I look at the three parts of my personal missions statement and I observe that they are made up from these characteristics.
Each one of these characteristics are fruits from the tree which has strong roots. These roots are the basic part of Christianity and were the drive and goal of Our Lord Jesus Christ: LOVE. This takes me to the last but not least part of my personal missions statement.
To love each other and those we serve: If I speak in the tongues of mortals and angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal and if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
I Cor. 13:1-3(NRSV)
We love because He first loved us. Those who say, "I love God" and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from Him is this: Those who love God must also love their brothers and sisters also.
I John 4:19-21 (NRSV)
These two passages of Scripture speak for themselves under this part of the personal missions statement. Also the best example of someone who loved others and those he served was our Savior Jesus Christ. That love took Him to the cross for us and endured cruel and beastial treatment. This love is not a mushy, sentimental, fuzzy feeling emotion but a power that changes lives, minds and destinies. A love that conquered death. This is TO LOVE EACH OTHER AND THOSE WE SERVE fits in with me.
This vast world we live in is our missions field and each and every Christian is a missionary whether that is at home or abroad and the Christian is already in ministry. If not in another land washing dirty people or feeding starving children or pastoring a church, they are in the living and working areas of life amidst many people who do not know Jesus Christ. They do not know real freedom, real fulfillment, real joy. Each and every evangelical Christian has a missions field right outside their door and it take a heart of compassion, respect, integrity, thoughtfulness, awareness, sensitivity, encouragement, trust and responsibility formed out of love to see the opportunities that lie there for us. The harvest is plentiful and we have ministry to do. So as I go forth with my personal mission statement: Go where the people are, serve the leadership of the church and community, live a life worthy of my call and love others and those I serve. I pray that you will join me in spirit and in truth and introduce our world to Jesus Christ.