“Missions Exist Because Worship Doesn’t…” Two Teaching Approaches: Old White Guy & Young Black Dude

“Missions Exist Because Worship Doesn’t…” Two Teaching Approaches: Old White Guy & Young Black Dude

This post will not contain much original content.  The characterization of “old white” and “young black” is not about condescension, racism, or anything like that whatsoever. So if you think there is any sinister motivation here… shut it and chill. There’s not. If Michael Jackson taught us anything… it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.

The purpose of this post is to celebrate how the beautiful gospel can be preached and taught in widely varying ways and contexts. Another purpose of this post is to explore this idea by me asking questions for your contemplation. I also hope to expose my readership to a different context and the idea of contextualization.

The Apostle Paul on Preaching the Gospel

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.”
Romans 15:17-21

Old White Guy = John Piper

John Piper is awesome pastor. He’s an old white guy. He has been at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota for nearly 35 years. He really loves Jesus. He really loves sharing the gospel with believers and non-believers. He appeals to and is ferociously seeking to connect with a certain audience.

Below is a profoundly deep teaching and challenge from one of his many books. You may have read it before. I have read this many times. That’s OK.

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4).

But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the Lord…I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High” (Ps 104:34, 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.”

–John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993/2003), 17.

Video Summary from John Piper

Young Black Dude = Lecrae

Lecrae is an awesome teacher of the gospel. He’s a young black dude. He is also a phenomenal rapper, lyricist, and musician. You should buy a bunch of his albums. His record label, Reach Records, promotes many other talented rappers that share the gospel. One of my favorite albums from the 116 Clique is “13 Letters“. On that album, each of Paul’s epistles is summarized and taught (learn more).

Below is the same message as John Piper’s (whose is the same as the Apostle Paul’s), delivered with different creativity to a different audience. He really loves Jesus. He really loves sharing the gospel with believers and non-believers. He appeals to and is ferociously seeking to connect with a certain audience.

Lecrae published a great article at The Resurgence on contextualizing the gospel: “Why You Need to Know Your Culture

Send Me by Lecrae

Pardon the mediocre video / audio quality below. I assume it is OK to post this because Reach Records links to it on their Youtube Channel.

Lyrics to Send Me by Lecrae

Send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

I seen it with my own two,
there’s no way i can show you
a perfectly poverty stricken people with no view.
And i bet you can’t believe this,
they never heard of Jesus.
Heard young butler, Lil wayne, and young jeezy.

No one’s signing up to go on missions this summa.
Rather sit at home and watch exibit pimp in a humma
while a nine year old is shot down.
No one’s screaming ‘stop now!’
no bridge illustrations for criminals who on lock down.

People deep in Africa
looking for an answer bra’.
In china man,
they’re dieing man,
until they know who died for sins.
So look what grace did.
Not for us to stay here
inside our comfort zones
at home in mama’s basement.

Get out on the grind y’all.
Ain’t no better time doll.
I know y’all read the great commission.
Let me just remind y’all:
make disciples of the nations.
Teach’m to obey the Lord.
Have to lead someone to Christ before i face the Lord.

Send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

hey! After, 1,000 years in the west and the churches
get’n bigger daily without understand’n worship. (say what?)
Some regenerate but a lot ain’t saved.
You walk outside and be surprised cuz the block ain’t changed.

And the numbers they be get’n me.
Something just ain’t hit’n them.
America ain’t christian they practice’n the ritual.
That’s why we should be mission though.
Hey, what you think i’m spit’n for?
The united states is dyin’
and in the east is looking pitiful.

Some places if they catch you
they’ll arrest you.
They’ll serve you,
but they still need the word too.
The gospel should be heard too.
We claim we ain’t ashamed,
but we ain’t hit the block up.
Were in our christian bubble,
while our brotha’s get’n locked up.

Lord i wanna stock up,
pack a bag and walk up
in a country where sharing my faith may get me shot up
anywhere i go, whether my city or far abroad,
i just wanna show Jesus Christ the risen holy god.

Send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

i know they’re dyin’ in the streets over in the middle east.
Some kids sink in piece
others hold’n up a piece.
If the violence doesn’t cease,
then at least the deceased
might know jesus as their savior as their bodies hit the streets.

And i know this is a graphic view.
And i pray that it’s attack’n you.
Track’n you to act and do
what you see in the back illusion.
Mathew twenty-four and fourteen.
We should read it twice
before we think that life is just a battle
see we free in Christ!

Look dawg! Life is more than church work and football!
What if you were dead and seen that Christians overlooked y’all!
This is why we leave the couch
and leave the comforts of our house
to show a dying world a god they’ll probably never read about.

The great commission says make disciples of all nations.
Have we even made them in our own nation?
Come on Christians!
Missions exist because worship doesn’t.
People don’t worship the god who made them.
We’re ambassadors.
Let’s go!

Send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
send me I’ll go,
lemme go lemme go!

Contemplation Questions

Note: These questions are challenging for me. I have been contemplating them a lot in recent months.

  • What does “mission exists because worship doesn’t” mean? What does it mean in your life?
  • What does your worship look like? Is it Biblical? Do you know what Biblical worship looks like? How should your worship grow?
  • What did / does Jesus’ worship  and “missions” look like?
  • What is the gospel? What is the purpose of it?
  • What does it mean to be an ambassador of the gospel?
  • Are you sharing the gospel? If not, why?
  • What is your perspective of “missions”? Is it Biblical?
  • How does your worship turn into mission work?
  • Who is your audience? What is your context? How should you more intentionally and creatively share the gospel with your audience, with words and actions?

Extra Credit: Mark Driscoll Interviews Lecrae

Interview with Lecrae at The Resurgence

Extra Credit: Sermon by John Piper, “Missions Exists Because Worship Doesn’t: A Bethlehem Legacy, Inherited and Bequeathed”

Missions Exists Because Worship Doesn’t: A Bethlehem Legacy, Inherited and Bequeathed from Desiring God on Vimeo.

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