THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR MISSIONS
The foundational conviction of our missions emphasis is, perhaps, an unexpected one. Certainly, our hope is that people would find salvation through the gospel, that needy people would be put into a right relationship with God for all eternity. But that is actually not our primary purpose. Instead, the ultimate purpose of our efforts is that by expanding His kingdom to the ends of the earth, Christ would be glorified. As one pastor put it:
All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and his Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions is not that goal. It is the means. And for that reason it is the second greatest human activity in the world.
One of the things God uses to make this truth take hold of a person and a church is the stunning realization that it is also true for God himself. Missions is not God’s ultimate goal, worship is. And when this sinks into a person’s heart everything changes. The world is often turned on its head. And everything looks different—including the missionary enterprise.
The ultimate foundation for our passion to see God glorified is his own passion to be glorified. God is central and supreme in his own affections. There are not rivals for the supremacy of God’s glory in his won heart. God is not an idolater. He does not disobey the first and great commandment. With all his heart and soul and strength and mind he delights in the glory of his manifold perfections. The most passionate heart for God in all the universe is God’s heart.
This truth, more than any other I know, seals the conviction that worship is the fuel and goal of missions. The deepest reason why our passion for God should fuel missions is that God’s passion for God fuels missions. Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God. And the deepest reason why worship is the goal in missions is that worship is God’s goal. We are confirmed in this goal by the Biblical record of God’s relentless pursuit of praise among the nations. “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!” (Psalm 117:1). If it is God’s goal it must be our goal. (John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad)
Because the goal of our missions’ effort is God’s glory, we must conclude that our ministry is not for our honor but for Christ’s. This may seem self-evident, but the subtle effects of the very sin conquered through missions can destroy our missions’ ministry. We must take care that we do nothing simply for the sake of our own reputation, or to expand the ministry solely to have a larger program. Everything we do must be motivated by a desire to bring glory to Christ. (From the Mission to the World website)