I grew up with the view that missions was something done overseas and evangelism is something we do here in the states. I also thought missions was a program of the church, just a part of the overall purpose of the local church.
But as I begin to read and think and dream about the future, I see the faulty presumptions in this model. I believe our outreach muscles have atrophied as we have sent out paid missionaries into distant countries and worried about furthering (growing) the church in the local area. We do a good job of "doing church" and teaching about parts of Christianity, but we don't feel a need to be missional in our way of life. Clergy have been seen as the only qualified ones to reach out but the truth is the clergy's reach is limited in a world that is put off by anyone working with a church. Just mention you are a minister in a haircut conversation and you will get one of two reactions: the end of any conversation or a confession of what the person has done wrong and wishes he or she could do better. The hands of God's kingdom are the people of the church. That is where his mission and kingdom are furthered. What are ministers currently doing to promote or inhibit the mission of the each member of the conversation?
Where does mission need to happen? Well, if African churches are now sending missionaries to bring Christ to America, I think that is a good sign of where God's kingdom needs to be furthered. Mission is not an overseas term, or a program of the church. Rather, mission is the lifeblood of the church and we are to join in God's mission as he has been so instrumental in his mission for us. He sent his son into our world to bring salvation. Now we must continue this practice. Let's die to our dreams for people coming to our church and begin to bring people into God's kingdom however that can be accomplished.