This is probably one of the most famous advertising campaigns in history. Nike’s “Just do it!” was a worldwide phenomenon a few years ago. It was even parodied by the Simpsons.
Certain types of missiology seem to also sign up to a Nike approach; just do it, don’t waste time on thinking. In my opinion this is very short sighted. So we are thinking about how we can do mission in a way that is effective but biblical.
Today I am reflecting on what Jesus can teach us about the way we do mission. Firstly, Jesus’ approach was integral or wholistic. There were debates in the 1960s and 70s in Evangelical circles about whether evangelism or social involvement was primary in mission. I think we should be past that debate now. John Wimber added to that debate by adding to the debate about words and works, the issue of wonders or miracles.
In my opinion miracles come under the category of works. Jesus did miracles and the gospel writers record them, for two reasons. Firstly, they were good for the person for whom the miracle was done. I accept the man who had been blind from birth as a possible exception (John 9). The vast majority of Jesus’ miracles were to benefit others; normally the poor, sick and vulnerable. Secondly, Jesus did a miracle and the gospel writer interprets them, saying something about the kingdom of God or salvation. John is explicit in this, actually calling them signs but the other writers do as well. In Mark 2:1-12, Jesus starts by telling the man let down through the roof that his sins are forgiven and then says, “that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and then heals the man. So he starts with the words and then authenticates his words with a miracle. In Luke 11, Jesus casts out a demon and as a response to the people’s murmuring, he says, “if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom has come to you (11:20). The action comes first then the explanation. Words and deeds or deeds and words together are wholistic mission.
Tomorrow we will conclude the week speaking about preaching and teaching.