God May Be Sending You Out in One of These 2 Ways

When we look at the Bible, we find many examples of these two different ways that God "sends" His people out on mission. (Pexels/Tobi)

Last week, Deborah and I spent time in central Pennsylvania, where we enjoyed Thanksgiving with William and his wife's family and attended a wedding in Lancaster. One of my highlights was visiting Lititz, a small town in Lancaster County that was founded by the Moravians in 1756.

Though most Protestant communities that settled in North America in the 17th and 18th centuries were fleeing religious persecution in Europe (like the Pilgrims from England and Holland), the Moravian settlements in North America and the Caribbean were founded in the pursuit of global mission.

This reminds me of two Greek words found in the New Testament that are commonly translated as "send" in English.

The first word is apostello, referring to someone who is "sent out" on a particular mission with honor and authority (see Matthew 10:5 when he sends out the 12 disciples).

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

The second word is ekballo, referring to someone who is "sent out" or "driven out" in a particularly violent manner. Jesus uses this verb once to discuss sending out laborers into the harvest field (see Matthew 9:38), but most of the time, this verb comes in the context of "driving out" demons (see Matthew 7:22).

When we look at the Bible, we find many examples of these two different ways God "sends" His people out on mission.

In Genesis, we see that God's original purpose for man was to "be fruitful and multiply, and replenishthe earth" (Gen. 1:28; 9:7). God was sending (apostello) them out to be His image-bearers and to cultivate the earth He had made. But very quickly, we see people beginning to resist God's purpose—most famously in the Tower of Babel, where man's purpose was to "build a name" for themselves and to avoid being "scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (Gen. 11:4b).

So what did God do? He confused their languages and "scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth" (Gen. 11:8). Instead of being "sent," they were "driven out" to do what God had originally called them to do.

We see the same thing happen in Acts with the apostles. In Acts 1:8, Jesus' followers are baptized with the Holy Spirit in order to be His "witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." But instead of going, the apostles stayed in Jerusalem. And it took a severe wave of persecution (see Acts 8:1) before the apostles got the hint and began taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.

All of church history is littered with stories of people who were either "sent out" (apostello) or "driven out" (ekballo) by God onto mission. Either way, God will accomplish His purposes in the world, but if it's up to me, I'd rather cooperate with God and be "apostelloed" rather than "ekballoed."

Steve Murrell serves as the president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a ministry that does church planting and campus ministry in over 70 nations.

This article originally appeared at stevemurrell.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.

The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders
AD topLeft