In John 17:18, Jesus said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (NIV). The key words in this text are “sent into the world.” As Christ had entered our world, so are we to enter into other people’s world. If we are faithful to fulfill this Christ’s mission command, we are to be like Him. John Stott points out that this Christ’s challenge to his disciples for “entering into other people’s worlds is exactly what we mean by incarnational evangelism.”
The Salvationist’s practical application from John Stott’s advice on incarnational evangelism could be this: All God’s people are Christ’s healing agents, in the power of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we should not forget this biblical truth that God’s kingdom mission is inclusive not exclusive! In that context, Christ’s battle order for “entering into other people’s worlds” can be transferred to Salvationists’ mission motto, “We are saved to save! We are saved to serve!” General William Booth’s marching order, “Go for souls and go for the worst”should continue to echo into all Salvationists’ hearts as an urgent missional call to fulfill Christ’s incarnational evangelistic command.
I want to encourage and challenge you to take Christ’s missional statement, “sent into the world,” as our missional marching order to the world. Today, we boldly reassert and declare our God-given mission, which has been revealed by our missional God to Salvationists since 1865, the year we were born. Particularly, for Salvationists who identify themselves as God’s missionary soldiers for the sake of the Kingdom mission (cf: 1 Corinthians 3:5-9), now is the time for us to rededicate ourselves to cultivate the land (to meet the people’s needs) and to sow the seed (to proclaim the Gospel of grace through Christ alone) within the soil (to be sent to the suffering lands where God places us), thus working with God to create the perfect garden (to bring God’s Shalom into the wounded world) and producing a good harvest (to lead the lost souls to Christ, the savior and high priest).
As God’s faithful soldier for His incarnational (kingdom) mission, I want to firmly affirm and remind you that the whole purpose of the Salvationist’s missional identify is not only to represent individual lives committed to holiness but also our corporate unity for leading all people into the grace of God through the ministry of The Salvation Army. If it is true, we need to urgently acknowledge the basic biblical principle of Christian discipleship (living lives that faithfully follow Christ) for fulfilling this God-given missional agenda to all God’s children. This is also Christ’s principle concern for all his followers which we are often tempted to forget or occasionally ignore while we are busy accomplishing our daily tasks in the name of God.
I want to heed Lt. Colonel Lyell M. Rader’ words for refining the unshakable principle of Salvationism. He advocated this belief as God’s missionary himself that “our personal holiness may be the first thing, but it is not the main thing. That is the Missio Dei, the Mission of God. And the fulfilment of his mission is his own glory!”
written by, Major Young Sung Kim, Ambassador for Holiness, USA East