Much has been said and written (cf. Beacon Lights, March, May, August-September, 1961) about the mission program of the Protestant Reformed Churches. Criticisms have been leveled; appeals have been made. A synopsis of the present mission state-of-affairs had been requested and then given. It has been concluded by some that the Protestant Reformed missions program is adequate when compared to its facilities, by others that we, as churches, fall far short of fulfilling the missionary mandate. Many stand, especially young people (for the previous articles have been by ministers), wondering what the entire issue is about, doing no positive thinking whatsoever on the topic. It is much easier for one to hop on the bandwagon once he sees how the issue is drifting so that a rift in the denomination will not be caused by disagreement on such a trivial subject. It is much easier for one to view the situation from the bottom upward than from the top downward. An interest in missions? Surely they have it, so they say. A true interest? Hardly so.
Before, however, we venture into a discussion of the means by which we can promote work, we must first lay a foundation for this work. A prerequisite must be met. We must know and believe what we are going to missionize. We must be thoroughly acquainted with every aspect of the church dogmas. We must be versed in the dictates of Reformed Doctrine. We must be convinced of the Protestant Reformed interpretation of the Scriptures. We must believe that the Bible is the Word of God. We must be sure of our faith in Christ Jesus. If we do not have this foundation, our work is a futile one, our cause is a lost one, our Christ which we desire to be made known is a meaningless one.
Much time has been spent in the preparation of the youth for service in the Kingdom of God. Regular catechism classes are held; societies hold weekly meetings. The weekly preaching of the Word is also heard. Furthermore, many (lament the fact that there are not more) of our churches have established their own schools so that their children can have a distinctive education. All this to instill in our minds the knowledge of God. But remember, this foundation is essential. It is necessary for obedience to the mission mandate.
Once we have this foundation, a real missionary interest will naturally follow. For one cannot believe the truth of the Scriptures and remain dormant. A true Christian has an unquenchable religious fervor. He will have the desire to spread those truths – at home, in his surrounding area, and abroad. Stop once to measure your “natural” mission interest. Examine and see what you know about our mission program. How many of us know where our home missionary is? How many of us are concerned enough to find out the situation in which he is working? How many of us are aware of the operations of the mission committee? If we are not acquainted with the present program, how are we to enlarge it? Where is this “natural” mission interest?
This interest, if it exists, will result in the furtherance of the mission program of the Protestant Reformed Churches. On the one hand, we will passively be engaged in mission work through our prayers and monetary support. Pray and ask God not only how you may best be used to propagate His Gospel but also pray God to give strength and direction to His existing missionaries – those engaged in the special mission of preaching His Word. Give generously, give freely of your possessions so that mission work will not be financially hampered. On the other hand, we may actively engage in mission work. Several of us may desire to preach the Word on the mission “field.” Probably a SWIM program should be set up. But one does not have to be a minister or a “SWIMer” to be actively engaged in mission work. We must have, as well, teaching missionaries, medical missionaries, housewife missionaries, factory-worker missionaries. Missionaries which come into contact with the populi, with the “all nations” of Matthew 28. In short, each of us must maintain a personal mission, a personal witness. We must witness for the children of God. We must witness to the children of God. We must witness because we are children of God.
Give us time, you say, to enlarge our program. We will develop an adequate mission program in due time. But time is wasting! The signs of the times are upon you, so say our clergy. Observe the world. Now is the time for mission work. Wake, for the Night is coming!