· author: Thomas · reading time: ca. 9 min.

Mission means passing on information about the Christian faith, because you rarely hear them in the media. It is enough to speak about one’s own experiences of faith. Through these clues, every person who is sincerely looking for God can find Him.

When the term “mission” is used, some may first think of Christians spreading their faith in countries far away, possibly even violently trying to impose their point of view on other cultures. In this article, however, I would first like to take a look at what significance Christian mission can have here and now in a democratic society, and also share my personal experiences.

Mission = Information

I believe that mission is information. If you take a look at the New Testament of the Bible, you will not find any basis there that would justify a violent approach by Christian missionaries. Already the apostle Paul – one of the first Christian missionaries – explains in his letter to the Christian community in Ephesus that the means of a believing Christian must be non-violent.

Paul uses for this the image of the equipment of a soldier, as it was common at that time in the Roman Empire. He compares the individual elements with the qualities that a Christian should have at all times:

For for us the battle is not against flesh and blood […] Therefore take hold of the whole armor of God […] Stand therefore, your loins girded with truth and clothed with the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with readiness to share the gospel of peace. Moreover, take hold of the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fiery arrows of the evil one. And also take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. By all prayer and supplication pray at all times in the Spirit […] also for me, that words may be given to me, when I open my mouth, to make known with frankness the mystery of the Gospel.

(Ephesians 6:12-19)

As you can see from Paul’s comparison, the sword of a Christian, i.e. his armament, is not an actual weapon, but something spiritual: the Word of God. In a narrower sense, this refers to the Bible, in which God has left us all the important information about Himself. In any case, this makes it clear that a Christian does not “fight” with force, but with words.

(Further reading: Ephesians 6:10-20)

Good News

We have seen from the image of the armor that a Christian does not use force, but words are his “weapon”. However, this still does not answer the question of why he should pass on information about God and his personal faith in the first place.

Let’s consider what information most people in our society receive on a regular basis, regardless of their faith or religious affiliation. A widespread source of information is the daily news, which is nowadays mainly read, seen and heard via the Internet, television, radio or traditionally via the newspaper.

Much of the current news, unfortunately, is made up of negative headlines: As I write this article, the COVID-19 pandemic has just kept the world on edge for three years. As if that were not enough, war has been raging in Ukraine for several months, right on our doorstep. For a long time this was unthinkable in Europe, but now many people are worried about a third world war.

Information about the Christian faith, on the other hand, is rarely found in the mainstream media. Of course, there are also a few positive reports in the news, and in principle there is nothing to be said against keeping up to date on world events with the help of the media, as long as you do it at a healthy level.

However, we can state that most people do not automatically have information about the Christian faith at their disposal just because they consume the information that is common in our time. As Christians, therefore, we have to become active ourselves in order to get the message of our loving God out into the world and thus make the available information complete, so to speak.

(Further reading: John 17,25-26; Romans 12,21)

Creating transparency

King David describes God several times in the Psalms as a “safe castle”. The thick walls of a castle obviously protect the people inside – and I find this a very beautiful image for faith in God. But if you think about the image further, you also realize that the thick walls are not very permeable. Information only penetrates through them if it is actively carried to the outside.

During my high school years, my girlfriend at the time once invited me to an event to which she in turn had been invited by a friend. That evening, an African-German dance group performed and entertained us with dancing and drumming. At the end of the evening, the spokesperson for the group mentioned that God had inspired them to hold this tour.

Looking back, I think it was very brave and a beautiful gesture to consciously make such a performance for the glory of God. However, it didn’t occur to me until several years later, when I myself became more intensely involved with the Christian faith, what the real purpose of this group had been – to encourage us to engage more deeply with God.

This example showed me what a great distance the castle walls can create. As a participant seeing the dance performance, I had not understood what the actual important topic of the event should have been. This made me realize that one should not assume a basic knowledge of faith in today’s audience.

Therefore, I try to make it clear on this blog that all articles revolve around the Christian faith and can help answer basic questions. In doing so, I hope to give everyone a glimpse behind the castle walls.

(Further reading: Psalm 18:3; Psalm 31:4; Psalm 71:3; Psalm 91:2; Psalm 144:2)

Sharing experiences

In addition to pure factual knowledge, which some may still have been taught in religion classes at school, it seems particularly important to me to also explain the practical application of faith in one’s own life – trying to give an answer to the question “How can I experience God?” that is understandable to people who have not grown up with the Christian faith from an early age.

I remember a classmate from religion class very well. He told us how, after an accident, he and his family had prayed for the healing of a broken bone, and a short time later the attending doctor could actually see no fracture on the X-ray. A hard skeptic will not be convinced by such reports either, but I find such experiences important to illustrate the practical significance of faith.

In the Bible, too, we find examples of people revealing their personal experiences with God: When Paul speaks in Jerusalem about his faith – which completely contradicts the religious practices of the time – a turmoil ensues and he is arrested. When he finally has to justify himself to the king, Paul uses his life story to explain to him how his encounter with Jesus changed him for the better. In the end, Paul is acquitted and the king adds: “Not much is lacking and you persuade me to become a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)

Although I can’t tell a life story as exciting as Paul’s, I try to include my personal experiences in this blog. Faith for me is not just something that happens in church on Sundays, but also has an impact on the rest of my life. That’s why it seems only normal to me to write about it as well. Otherwise I would have the uncomfortable feeling that I was deliberately hiding a part of my life.

(Further reading: Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Luke 10:25-28; Acts 9:1-31; Acts 22:1-22; Acts 26; Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14)

Living tolerance

Personally, faith is an important topic for me, because it involves the question of what will happen to us after death. However, for a long time I found it difficult to have fruitful conversations about this. I was worried that I was just trying to push my opinion on others, and that I would end up scaring them off rather than helping them.

Even if we only “fight” with words, we can hurt other people in the process – the Bible also warns us about this and warns us to use our “tongue” properly. The topic reminds me of promoters in the pedestrian zone who collect donations for well-known environmental or animal protection organizations. They too have a good intention at heart, yet some passersby feel blindsided by them.

Generally, advertising on the street seems to be worthwhile, otherwise it wouldn’t be done anymore. Personally, though, I’m not the type of person who would spontaneously decide to sign a contract on the street, even if it’s about a seemingly simple issue. And the question of faith is a subject with even greater consequences than, for example, deciding on a career or a spouse.

Before I consciously decided on the Christian faith, I had read a lot about different religions and the respective pros and cons. That’s why I think it’s especially important to provide interested people with the information that actually relates to their current questions. There is no ready-made concept for this. Instead, it also requires listening first to what is on their minds and what kind of relationship they have with God at the moment.

God has shown me that He loves us and that we have everything we need in Him. Therefore, I don’t need confirmation from other people that they also think my faith is good. In the end, I have to answer to God and be at peace with my conscience. How other people decide regarding their faith is their free decision. Therefore, it is enough if I simply tell them from my perspective.

(Further reading: Matthew 7:1-2; Romans 2:1; Romans 14:4)

The puzzle comes together

If faith is a free choice, one can object that there are also people who have never had the chance to freely choose a relationship with God because they have never received the necessary information about the Christian faith. If God is really as good as we as Christians claim, shouldn’t He do more to draw attention to Himself so that every person gets the chance to make a decision?

In my experience, God meets people again and again in their lives. For me, it wasn’t just the two examples of the dance group and the classmate. Even at the time when I was more involved with yoga than with God, a man once suddenly approached me in the bookstore as we were both browsing the greeting cards. Although I didn’t know him, he briefly told me his life story and how faith in Jesus gives him hope even when the world is coming to an end.

At least here in Germany, there are also always poster campaigns that point to Bible verses, for example. These little incidents can eventually fit together like pieces of a puzzle: Only later does one become aware of how God has laid a trail of clues that have led us to Him. And here the question regarding far away countries becomes relevant again: The Bible has now been fully translated into 719 languages and has already been partially translated into many more.1

Nevertheless, there are countries where it is difficult to buy a Bible or it is even forbidden to own one. In these countries, Christians are persecuted today just as they were at the beginning of Christianity.2 But even there, there are Christians who continue to share their faith even though speaking publicly about it is forbidden. From some of these countries, there are reports that God meets people in their dreams.

God is omniscient. That is why I believe that He exactly knows in advance who will decide for Him, when and how. From our limited, human perspective, we can only see the “puzzle” when it is complete. God, however, can see our decisions long before we have made them. As a result, He can set the course in time so that we will know about Him at the right time. That is why I am convinced that everyone who sincerely searches for God will find Him.

(Further reading: Job 42:1-6; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13-14; Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 11:9-13; Romans 8:28; 1 Timothy 2:3-4)