If you are anything like me, I catch myself all too often using jargon and unclear language to explain something when simple, plain language would be far more helpful. This happens all the time in the professional world. It happens with neighbors and friends. It even happens in the church. God’s ways are certainly higher than our ways, but that does not mean everything has to be confusing! We could really help one another out if we were intentional with using clearly defined terms and language with one another.
“Sending” is one of those terms that I think we often use broadly but do not define very well. As believers in Christ, we are a sent people. We send missionaries to the nations. We send community group leaders and church planters to multiply. We also send our kids to camp and to school. We send our spouses off to work. But what does it mean to be a “sending church” and how do we do it?
In his book The Sending Church Defined, author Zach Bradley defines it this way:
“A Sending Church is a local community of Christ-followers who have made a covenant together to be prayerful, deliberate, and proactive in developing, commissioning, and sending their own members both locally and globally, often in partnership with other churches or agencies, and continuing to encourage, support, and advocate for them while making disciples cross-culturally.”
There’s a lot in that one sentence, but it is clear and helps to understand what sending looks like. Fueled by prayer. Deliberate and proactive process. Specific people going to specific locations. Partnership with others. Ongoing care and relationship. And through it all, a committed community of followers of Jesus doing the sending work together.
But even as we define the term and understand what it means to be a church that sends people out, we need to think like a four-year-old and ask that essential question, “Why?” Why do we send?
First and foremost we send because our God is a Sending God. In John 17, we hear that God the Father has sent Jesus the Son to accomplish a work, and we hear that Jesus has sent His disciples into the world that others might believe.
Throughout the Bible we see God sending His people to a new land, to a better place, into captivity, in a different direction, to a foreign people, into villages and towns, to kings and rulers, and more. In Jesus’ final words to His followers, He commands them that they are to “Go” and make disciples of all nations, all peoples. He also sends the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to his followers that they may be empowered to go, as He has commanded. Over and over again, we see in Scripture that God is a sending God and He has commissioned a sent people so that His name would be known and glorified in all the world.
As a local church, we want to be faithful to play our part within God’s redemptive mission. To that end, we have worked to develop a clarity of what it means for CBC to be a sending church. We have created opportunities to send members on short term mission opportunities through Go Trips. We want to equip all CBC members to understand how they are called and sent by God in their own community. We have developed a sending pathway for CBC members who feel a call to vocational full-time missions work. We have crafted Missions Convictions that help to ensure we send in a way that is faithful to God’s word. Our prayer would be that you would consider how God has uniquely called and gifted you to proclaim the truth of the gospel to the whole world. We are sent.
For more information about CBC Missions, visit cbcsavannah.com/gotrips.