There Is No Mission Without the Church

In a world with competing priorities, the church remains both the agent and goal of Christ’s mission.

From Message magazine issue "Transformed: Lives Changed Across the Globe"

As we consider the state of the missionary task in 2024, there are many important aspects we could examine—the great need for the gospel in a lost world, the plight faced by unreached peoples, or our calling to meet physical needs as well as spiritual needs.

But the heaviest on my heart this year is something simple: the church.

We at ABWE firmly believe that the church, the cherished body of Christ, stands at the blazing center of God’s mission. She is the beloved bride for whom Christ died, the prize of redemption, and the ambassador commissioned to proclaim the love and mercy of the cross to all the nations. If we claim to be about our Lord’s mission, we must be about his church.  

Because of this, we’re increasing our attention on helping local churches fulfill their role in the Great Commission. First, we’re forging connections with new, missions-minded congregations seeking to send workers to the nations (Matthew 9:38); and second, we’re deepening our bonds of ministry partnership with churches that already send and support gospel laborers. 

Our love for the church is unwavering. We believe that God has entrusted ABWE with a unique calling to come alongside local churches in the work of the Great Commission, stewarding our gifts and resources to nurture the next generation of missionaries. We firmly believe that with these gifts comes the weighty responsibility to serve the bride of Christ with excellence. 

As you explore the many stories of eternal impact on the mission field in this digital exclusive edition of Message Magazine, we pray that you see the common thread that unites each narrative and update: that through them all, Christ is transforming lives and fulfilling his promise to build his church (Matthew 16:18), and that we have the high and holy privilege of partnering with him in this glorious work. And if this is our aim—just as it is God’s aim—we’ll experience his strengthening presence in this great work.  

Let me invite you: make our focus in 2024 yours as well. Commit yourself to the body of Christ at home and abroad. And pray for us—that we would serve the church well and be a vital blessing to God’s people as we raise up a vibrant generation of faithful missionaries. 

Paul L. Davis

Paul Davis is president of ABWE. Prior to his appointment in 2017, Paul served as senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, MI. He attended Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a master’s degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Paul and his wife, Martha, have been married for 28 years, and have both served in numerous roles in Christian ministry and education. They have four adult children. Follow Paul on Facebook.