Over the years we've considered missionaries and evangelists to be people who travel to other places to people that we or they don't know in order to share the good news. But what does it mean in our world today where we don't have to go to another country or people in order to be sent to someone else with the gospel? Today to be sent means to go talk to a neighbor, co-worker or someone in our own family.
Aren't we all called to be two different kinds of Christians at the same time or at least at different times in our lives? Sometimes we are the sender and sometimes we're the sent. Unfortunately many of our churches are filled with those who don't believe they are sent to their neighbor or friend or family member or co-worker. Their faith is too "private" for all that.
The most dynamic, growing congregations in my experience are those where there are people who are constantly sharing their faith and their church with others that they know or meet in their daily lives. And then there is the need for those who are providing the support--not just for the senders but the whole congregation to keep growing senders and the sent.
We're all the sent--telling others about Jesus or at least where they can find Jesus (hopefully in our churches!). We're all the supporters of the sent--doing our part in the life of the Christian community so that all experience opportunities for Christian formation--no matter how old or young, Christian community that is open to new people and changed by them, and opportunities to grow toward God and others.
But then, you have to consider the end of this chapter that finds Paul and Barnabas forced out of town because some were afraid that "their precious way of life was about to be destroyed" by this message of Jesus.
What is your "precious way of life" that might be destroyed if you truly shared your faith and your church with others? Might we lose control over what happens there--the style of music/worship, the decisions made about what it means to be church, who comes to church and who gets attention that might be lavished on ourselves?