PRESENTATION: MESSAGE: MISSION AND THE MOON
On a visit to the Space Center in Houston I realized how much the mission of the church is like the mission to the moon. And yet, contrary to the Apollo program, it struck me how sadly lacking we are in our implementation of that mission.
I sat in the theater watching a film that chronicled the history of the space program and knew that space exploration isn't about application, it's about adventure. It's not about spin-offs or practicality or return on investment, its about exploration, reaching, searching, going, expanding humanity. And yes, I'll say it; it's about "boldly going where no one has gone before." That's what the annual NASA funding debates should focus on and that's the best reason to fund the space program.
And it's the same reason for mission. Ever since man's beginning, his charge from God has been to multiply and spread out. Abraham was to be a blessing. Israel was to take the message of Yahweh out to the nations. And now that task falls to us, Christians. As Andrew Murray says in his book Key to the Missionary Problem, "the church exists only for extending the kingdom." Our role has to be to extend the kingdom, especially to those windows in the world where the kingdom is most in need of expansion.
In 1962, as the U.S. began to fall behind the Soviet Union in space feats and technology, President John F. Kennedy made one of his most memorable and often quoted speeches at Rice University. He asked some rhetorical questions about why go to the moon, why climb the highest mountain, and why attempt to fly across the Atlantic thirty-five years before. His response became one of the greatest calls to action in American history: "We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."
What if we replace moon with missions? What if we say that we choose to go to the unreached not because it is easy but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure our God-given gifts and skills, because that is a challenge that we will accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one that through the power and grace of God we will win.
The resources of the American people were mobilized in costly and spectacular ways after Kennedy's speech in 1962. Billions of dollars were spent, hundreds of thousands of people were mobilized to do their own specific part in expanding the reach of humanity beyond this planet. Are we as believers capable of mobilizing billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of people to expand the kingdom into the unreached world? Yes. Are we willing? That's another question altogether isn't it?
What would it take for the Christians of America to launch an Apollo program to the lost? What would it take to unleash the resources of believers to set out on the last great frontier of missions? Will we use what God has given us? Will we use our money, our businesses, our jobs, our skills, our talents, our gifts? Is our passion to do whatever it takes to reach the lost? Not to go where the Gospel is already known, but to go where the Gospel is not known, to the over two billion people who will die without Christ and have no one to tell them who He is unless someone goes.