Reclaiming the sending paradigm

Mar 17, 2016 | Missionary Care, New Wine: The future, The Way I See Things, Thriving

A healthy missionary care model can only be built upon a healthy model of sending.

In his provocative book, The Sending Church Defined, Zach Bradley of the Upstream Collective meticulously defines his understanding of what sending should look like.

(I highly recommend that you devour this book if you have any interest at all in promoting missionary health.)

Here is the first of several posts covering some of Bradley’s main points:

The church must see itself as being missionaries, rather than having a missions department. The church is the collection of sent ones. [Missions] was more than activity [for the early church]. It was their identity. (p. 93; 15-16)

Likewise, the church must see itself as being missionary care-givers, rather than having a care department.

As part of the process of making disciples who obey all that Jesus commands, it must own its identity as mutual nurturers as well as mutual world-reachers.

Part of our identity in Christ…

as members of his body who are organically linked to him as our head…

is nurturing.

Being members of one another is actually just the natural result of believers brought into communion with the Triune God. (p. 89)

If we all share the responsibility for fulfilling the Great Commission…

then the “one another” commands become an essential part of our ability to follow through.

They are more than nice suggestions that will help us get along better…

they are strategic commands that, when obeyed, will enable us to accomplish our task more effectively.

The truth is…

we will never be successful in discipling the nations unless we are engaged in discipling one another.


And caring for those members who are on the mission field?

That’s an expression of the care that God himself extends.

Disciples, when fully trained, are like their master.

As we grow to be more like Jesus…

as we allow the life of Christ within us to be manifested through us…

we will be more and more involved in mutual care.


Perhaps one of the reasons we have lost sight of this regarding missionary care is that we have lost sight of it in our local churches.

In that case…

the best thing we can do to begin caring properly for sent ones is…

to begin practicing the one another commands right where we are.


It’s time to reclaim the biblical sending paradigm.