October is Mission Month. As Christians we have to realize that we are missionaries. Doing mission is non-negotiable. How do we develop the missionary spirit?
First, always be prepared that there will be a persecution targeting the Christians.
Acts 8:1 tells the story of the persecution of early Christians — “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem.” Severe persecution was prevalent in the first 300 years of Christianity.
Modern studies about church history show that in periods of government or societal persecution, there is rapid church growth; and in periods of no persecution, the growth is just steady or low. Are we going to wait for persecution in order for us to do mission? Let it be that we will do mission since it is our way of life as Christians.
Second, be willing to die for the cause of Jesus Christ.
Acts 8 tells us that Saul gave the go signal to kill Stephen. Later on “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” This tells us that Stephen was willing to die for his faith. How about us? If it comes to that point in our lives, are we willing not to deny Jesus Christ?
An early Christian theologian, Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” This was true in the life of the Saul of became Paul. The one who persecuted the Christians was transformed into the greatest missionary of all time.
Close to home, we have the story of the Hopevale Martyrs. On December 19, 1943 American Baptist missionaries were killed by the Japanese forces in Hopevale, Tapaz, Capiz. They willingly died for their faith.
Third, widen your perspective in facing the risks and see it as opportunities in spreading the Gospel.
Acts 8:4 gave us a picture on how the early Christians responded to the persecution — “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
Last October 3-4, a lecturer discussed about risk-based thinking in relation to ISO 9001:2015. Risk-based thinking is an approach in dealing with all issues in order to minimize negative results. This means that you have to think of all the risks involved in doing a certain activity. In this approach, you also should think about the opportunities that the risks will bring.
In the New Testament church, they have already started “Risk-based thinking.” They acknowledged that there is a persecution, and all Christians will one way or another be persecuted. But they saw it as an opportunity. They saw the persecution as an opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever they will be scattered.
Let us remember that those who have the missionary spirit are Christians who knows what is the mission for, and who sends them to do mission.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Office of Communications
Central Philippine University