This week we asked Stone Table board member, Pastor Rob Ketterling, about the heart of global missions. Rob is the founding pastor of River Valley Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the top missions giving church in the Assemblies of God fellowship.
When we hear the word “missions,” it conjures up countless images and definitions. We asked Rob to clarify the term for us in a short Q&A session at this year’s board meeting. Here’s what he had to share:
Stone Table: How do you define missions? When you’re talking to your church, how do you decide what missions is? It seems the word “missions” is getting diluted today.
Rob Ketterling: As much as it makes sense to me that missions is “bringing the message of Jesus Christ to people who have never heard it” and “building the church where it does not exist,” there is a lot of confusion on this. People think that missions is “being nice.” We should be nice when we’re doing missions, but that’s not missions.
Matthew says “let people see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). There’s got to be a connection. We are all for good works, but we want to glorify our Father in heaven.
So to us, missions is bringing the message of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, to people that have never heard – bringing the Church to where it doesn’t exist.
Now, people say to me that talking to my neighbor is “missions.” Not to get too technical, but I would say that’s outreach. That’s shining for Jesus where you’re at because the church is already there. You’re there. So that’s not missions. It’s really outreach, it’s evangelism (we need to reclaim that word by the way and make it good).
Evangelism is sharing the message of Jesus with the people around me, but missions is bringing the message of Jesus to those who have never heard.
Stone Table: Thanks Rob, great stuff! We are so grateful for your leadership and wisdom here at The Stone Table.