You might have noticed that the leaders at Watermark Church don’t use the word “missions” very often. And when we do, we use the word differently than others might.
Often, that word – “missions” – is reserved for international ministry: missions takes place overseas, a “mission trip” is a short-term venture to a foreign land, and a “missionary” lives in some far-off place (maybe even in a grass hut!).
What “Missions” Means to Us
But we try to use the word “missions” differently around Watermark. While we certainly get excited about what God is doing in other nations (and send about a dozen teams overseas every year), we don’t want to emphasize God’s international work at the expense of what He wants do to through His people every day. We even hesitate to use the term “mission trip,” because we don’t believe that going to Haiti or Africa is any more being a biblical “missionary” than going to school, to work, or down the street to visit your neighbor.
In other words, every Christian is called to be “on mission,” and that calling extends to every single day.
What Difference Does Emphasis Make?
We’re not too concerned when other Christians use these terms a little differently than we do. We simply hope that our emphasis affects the way we live! How can this wording remind us of our calling?
Fifty-two weeks vs. one week. When Christians see a “mission trip” as our main opportunity to serve others or make an impact, then we miss out on how God wants to use us the other weeks of the year. What if we were as excited about individual chances to serve or impact this week as we are during a trip overseas?
Preparing for the everyday mission. One reason we do encourage people to minister overseas is because of the preparation involved – there’s a lot of equipping in the months leading up to each trip we take. (That’s one reason we call these trips “Discipleship Trips.”) But what if each Watermark member prepared for our daily mission with the same tenacity? Memorizing God’s word, reading books about how to impact others, praying for our ministry opportunities, working through the areas of our lives that keep us from effective ministry… These are a few of the ways we can prepare for mission – whether international or local.
Every believer is a missionary. Perhaps accidentally, Christians often convey the idea that “mission” is reserved for a special sort of Christian. But the truth is, every believer is called to be a missionary, in the neighborhoods and among the “tribes” where God has placed them. By reminding ourselves (and our families!) that every Christian is meant to be a missionary, we remove the excuse that “missions” and “ministry” are reserved for only the most mature of believers.