Author: Craig Sully

Notes adapted from material by Jim Poitras

Discovering the Heart of Missions

Biblical Theology of Missions

  • Where did missions have its beginnings?
  • “every Old Testament text, if rightly heard, has a word for us today”
  • “The Bible actually begins with missions, maintains missions as its central theme throughout, and then climaxes in the Apocalypse with spontaneous outbursts of joy because the missionary mandate has been fulfilled!”
  • “It is impossible…to understand missions properly in the New Testament without seeing the roots of missions in the Old Testament.”
  • “If this worldwide missions movement is to sustain its momentum and maintain its vitality, it must be anchored in Scripture. Nothing will sink the movement faster, or detract it from its sharp focus, than a sub‐biblical outlook.”
  • Genesis 3:15 is considered to be the remedy; the mother of all mission’s promises

Abraham – A Man with a Heart for Missions

  •    In Genesis 12:1‐3 we find the words that uncover in a nutshell God’s plan and purpose.
  •    I will make you a great nation
  •    I will bless you
  •    I will make your name great
  •    There are over 300 declarative passages in the Old Testament that magnify God’s promise to bless all nations.
  •    It is NOTa burden, it is a PROMISE!

The Heartbeat Continues

  •    After the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter continued to identify the pulse of the Old Testament.
  •    All nations will be blessed through Abraham’s seed.
  •    This covenant is the heart of the Bible.
  •    Reaching the world is still God’s plan.

 Discovering the King of Missions

  • “Christian missions is the announcement, embodiment and extension of Christ’s reign in the world.”
  • Genesis 17:6‐8: “I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
  • “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the rulerʹs staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his” (Genesis 49:10).

David – A Man After God’s Own Heart

  • The Tabernacle of David

David – A King to Rule A Kingdom Without End

  • God established an everlasting covenant with David (2 Samuel 23:5), and promised him an everlasting kingdom
  • Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davidʹs throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:7).
  • Luke confirms Jesus’ royal descent and His being the Son of David: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign…forever; his kingdom will never endʺ (Luke 1:32‐33, NIV).
  • Psalms is acclaimed by George Peters and others to be one of the greatest missionary books.
  • The prophets abound with confirmations about a king; kingdom; Messiah; witness; and light to the nations.

 Discovering the Fire Still Falls

The Fire Falls at Pentecost

  • The Full Life Study Bible states, “Acts records what the church must be and do in any generation as it continues Jesus’ ministry in the Pentecostal power of the Holy Spirit.”
  • The word “witness” is the key word in Acts. It is mentioned thirty‐nine times.
  • At Pentecost people from every part of the known world—more than fifteen regions—assembled.
  • From its birth, the church has had a vision as “big as the world.”
  • “Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles — all who have been called by the Lord our God” (Acts 2:38‐39, NLT

The Fire Falls on the Gentiles

  • In Acts 10 Peter unlocks the door for the Gentiles to come to God.
  • God made it clear in Acts that His plan for evangelism included everyone.
  • God visited the Gentiles, and took a people for Himself. He opened the door of faith for them (Acts 14:27).

Discovering the Wall Has Been Torn Down

Walls…What Walls??

  • The mission of the Church can never be separated from the mission of Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus came to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10)
  • The Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, KJV).
  • Jesus “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations” (Ephesians 2:14).
  • “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

Discovering Your Role in Keeping With God’s Heartbeat


The Foreign Missions Division of the UPCI operates a training ministry in 106 full time Bible colleges with 5409 students enrolled. Another 38,000 receive training through correspondence programs and over 25,000 attend one of 400 seminars offered per year. The literature arm of the ministry produces over 6,500,000 books, tracts, and other pieces of literature each year in over seventy languages.

Missions Awareness

In the next few years the number of non‐Western missionaries could exceed 400,000.

Missions Prioritization

The need for Christians to reach out to those in need is well grounded in Scripture—no debate about that—but this should be secondary to proclaiming the Gospel.

Missions Partnerships

Daniel Rickett of Partners International outlines seven mistakes partnerships should avoid: (1) assuming you think alike; (2) promising more than you deliver; (3) starting the trip without a map; (4) underestimating cultural differences; (5) taking shortcuts; (6) forgetting to develop self‐reliance; and (7) running the race with no end. (Rickett 2001, 308‐317)

Next Steps