I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
This week I finished reading a book on spiritual warfare and missions. In one section the book focused on common strategies used by Satan in order to keep unreached people groups from ever hearing the gospel. One of Satan's most common strategies and he's doing a good job at it is to convince Christians that missions is optional.
Most commonly this does not take much convincing because in place of international missions to unreached people groups there is the sole focus on a churches own community, programs, building campaign. None of those things are necessarily bad and in many cases they are good things that are assisting in reaching people within the churches own community. The problem therein is when missions to unreached people groups is all but ignored as if it is an optional.
Ed Stetzer rightfully pointed out that "Missions was not a voluntary act for Paul. It was compulsory." The above passage from Romans shows the attitude that the Apostle Paul took towards missions and it was not one of being optional. Paul was transparent and showed how deeply burdened he was for the people, which led him to feel obligated to do something to impact the lostness of the people surrounding him.
Our ministry focus should not be either local or global, but both local and global. One of the authors of the book, Jerry Rankin, said, "If a church does not have a plan to 'make disciples of all nations,' then they are shirking their responsibility for the mission of God."
So, where are you and your church? Have you been viewing missions as optional? Do you feel the compulsion that Paul felt that all people would hear the gospel?