Unfortunately, they began receiving e-mails from people and organizations asking whether they could carry some mail to people along the way. Others asked them to bring back video footage of the pretty landscapes. Others asked whether they could help build a bridge across the Mississippi River, since they needed to cross anyway. Still others asked whether they could do a special study of the life cycle of mosquitos.

Because they wanted to help everyone, Lewis and Clark did all they could to assist everyone else’s mission. The result was that they never managed to complete their exploring, which is why you have never heard of these gentlemen. Wait, that’s wrong.

Even if Lewis and Clark were tempted to take up other missions, they refused them in order to accomplish the mission that Jefferson gave them. Sticking to their mission is why more than two hundred years later Lewis and Clark remain household names in the United States.

It can be difficult to stick to your mission when you’re continually distracted by requests from others who want you to fulfill theirs. This is a problem that Global Mission struggles with continually.

Not too long after Lewis and Clark completed their expedition, the Adventist movement began, and even the children supported the extreme efforts of the Adventist pioneers to press into the unreached places and people groups so that everyone could hear the great news of Jesus’ soon return. As a result, we rocked the world. Seventh-day Adventism spread at an incredible rate, considering the times.

As it grew, the Adventist movement eventually had to organize. Organization is necessary and good, but it brings with it a real temptation to look more toward the organized institution than toward the organized mission. This is a temptation to which every organization will gravitate unless it is actively recognized and resisted. Even then we drift.

Enter Global Mission

In 1990 Adventist leaders recognized and decided to do something about the fact that we were not pressing into the frontiers of mission the way that we used to. We were yielding to the tendency to concentrate our best efforts on maintaining the institution rather than on furthering the mission. We have been given the mandate to go to every nation, tribe, language, and people bearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. But this mandate does not drive us the way it once did.

Whereas this mission used to fill every waking thought, now mission might get mentioned at church. Or it might not. Whereas mission used to be a major theme in our Sabbath Schools, now it is relegated to passing around an offering envelope, into which a couple of dollar bills might be slipped. Or maybe not.

This is why the office of Global Mission was established. Global Mission is the Seventh-day Adventist response to the realization that we were maintaining more than we were going. Global Mission is the Seventh-day Adventist version of Lewis and Clark. Its mission is to launch us out of an institutional mindset so that we can continue to press into new territories, new languages, and new people groups with the gospel message.

The way Global Mission was to accomplish this work was, and still is, through church planting using local volunteer missionaries called Global Mission pioneers. In addition, recognizing that Global Mission pioneers have extreme challenges reaching certain people groups, church leaders established the Global Mission Centers with the sole purpose of exploring methods for working effectively among Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews as well as secular and urban groups. Today these centers are actively involved in research, training, and creating models for evangelism to non-Christians.

Avoiding distractions

Soon after Global Mission was established, requests began pouring in, but not necessarily for church planting among unentered groups: While you’re at it, can Global Mission help us build a church building? Can Global Mission help us build a school? Can Global Mission help us renovate our conference office? Can Global Mission help with our evangelistic series?

All of these requests are for worthy projects. But if Global Mission involved itself in all of them, the Seventh-day Adventist Church would still be neglecting the frontiers of mission, overlooking the people who are not hearing from us at all. So Global Mission consciously chooses to focus on just one thing, and that is the people who have never heard of Jesus. Global Mission responds specifically to their cry to the Adventist Church to “come, tell us the story of Jesus!”

The fact that Global Mission strongly maintains this specific focus means that often we must turn down fantastic project proposals. But if we are going to find ways to reach those whom we as a church are currently unable or unwilling to reach, Global Mission has no choice but to stay true to the task of sending pioneers to unreached peoples, nations, and languages to do the difficult and often dangerous work of raising up new Adventist churches where there currently are none.

You Are Global Mission

If you are someone who recognizes the necessity of what Global Mission is trying to accomplish, you are invited to become part of the family. Together we are funding thousands of Global Mission pioneers in nearly every country of the world who have one task and one task only: to plant a new group of Seventh-day Adventist believers where there isn't one right now. Why do these pioneers do it? Why do they go through the hardship, the inconvenience, the self-sacrifice required to press into the difficult places? Just one reason: we want Jesus to come back.

Do you want that too? Great! Join us!

There are two primary ways that you can be involved in Global Mission. First, you can be a pioneer who is involved in planting a church in your area. You do this by working with your local conference. Once you and your conference have a plan for planting a church, your conference can apply for Global Mission funding to help pay for that project.

The second way you can be involved is by supporting other pioneers. Since hundreds of church planting fund requests come to Global Mission every year, Global Mission lives and dies by the freewill offerings of God’s mission-minded people. Freewill donations, even small ones, are the lifeblood of what we do. And the little gifts count in major ways. Ellen White wrote, “The small sums saved by deeds of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause of God than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self,” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9 [Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press®, 1909] pp. 157, 158). So even your small gifts, given with a heart for mission, God will use in astonishing ways, the stories of which you will hear one day in heaven.

For more information about Global Mission, please visit Global-Mission.org.

Jeff Scoggins
Office of Adventist Mission.