Just before Jesus Christ returned to his Father he told his chosen apostles that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth [Acts 1:8]. Throughout Acts we see the Apostles engaged in this mission. The reports in Acts indicate that this engagement was very predominantly the preaching of the Gospel and only very, very minimally caring for the physical needs of unbelievers.

We read also that Saul was commissioned to be an apostle [one who is sent] to the Gentiles [Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17-18]. The purpose of this commission was to open people’s eyes, turning them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they would receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by Christ [Acts 26:17-18]. In line with this commission, the church in Antioch was instructed by the Holy Spirit to set aside Paul [nee Saul] and Barnabas and send them out on mission [Acts 13:4].

Paul’s engagement in the mission of Christ and his understanding of this mission is further understood from his letters:

We also read of Peter’s and James’ understanding of the missional role of the church:

Putting these perspectives together we learn from Acts and the New Testament letters that the mission of the church is two-fold:

To tell unbelievers the good news of the kingdom of Jesus Christ in both public address and personal conversation, and
To so live among unbelievers that that good news is confirmed and demonstrated by our lives.
Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2009