The Bible provides many helpful examples of missional living that can inform and inspire us. The following are examples of missional sermon materials that you can freely use if you like during the Year of Mission:
Important figures such as Peter, Stephen, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy all demonstrate how followers of Jesus live out their faith in missional ways and carry the gospel message to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The book of Acts is an excellent source to draw from for a sermon series on mission and to help a congregation to capture a missional vision. The following suggestions include titles, scripture selections, and notes for the Living Acts series.
Living Acts with Luke (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-11)
Themes: Jesus’ life and example, personal experience, passing on the Christian faith and message to a new generation
Missional Lesson: Luke saw value in passing on the story of Jesus and His disciples to others so much so that he dedicated much time and energy into investigating and reflecting on God’s work in the world.
Reflection Question: Are we open and willing to go deeper in our understanding of the message of Jesus and share our personal experiences of Him with others?
Living Acts with Peter (Acts 3:1–11)
Themes: Healing, surprise, renewal in ordinary, daily life
Missional Lesson: Peter was open to God doing something new amidst his ordinary, daily circumstances.
Reflection Question: The crippled beggar was surprised and filled with joy through God’s healing. Are we prepared to reach out to others knowing that God may surprise them (and us)?
Living Acts with Stephen (7:37–8:1a)
Themes: Speaking hard truths, persecution, presence of Holy Spirit, comfort in time of death
Missional Lesson: Stephen knew the story of God’s people and how to apply it to his life circumstances and culture.
Reflection Question: Many believers throughout history have given their lives for their faith. What do you think motivates them to make this sacrifice, and what comforts them at the time of their death?
Living Acts with Paul (Acts 9:1–31)
Themes: Conversion, surprised by God, persecution, witness to Christ
Missional Lesson: Paul was passionate about his agenda for serving God, but was surprised to find out that it was misguided. God calls us to serve Him in ways He has chosen and not merely in ways that we think are best.
Reflection Question: Are we open to changes in our plans for serving God? Are we willing to continue serving when old doors close and new ones open?
Living Acts with Barnabas (Acts 11:19-26)
Themes: Spread of the gospel, inclusion of gentiles, mutual support, encouragement, cross-cultural ministry
Missional Lesson: Barnabas, though from the church in Jerusalem, recognized the work of God among the Greek-speaking gentile Christians in Antioch and encouraged them in their faith in Christ. He was able to move beyond external appearances and discern and affirm God’s work.
Reflection Question: Are we able to move beyond external appearance to discern God’s work when it is present in the unexpected person or place that is different from our own?
Living Acts with Timothy (Acts 16:1-5)
Themes: Diverse background, character, effectiveness in ministry
Missional Lesson: Timothy was known and respected by others for his character. His witness flowed out of the actions and life God empowered him to live.
Reflection Question: Are we seeking God’s empowerment and transformation of our behavior, mindset, and actions as we seek to serve Him and minister to others?
Living Acts with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-48)
Themes: Fellowship, sharing, instruction, discipleship
Missional Lesson: Aquila and Priscilla recognized God at work in the ministry of Apollos despite his newness to the ministry. They took time to get to know him and share with him about the fuller message of the Christian faith.
Reflection Question: When we encounter Christians who have different language or understanding of the faith do we take time to get to know them and share with them about the fuller message of the gospel that all followers of Christ share?
Sermons on Mission
“Go!” (Genesis 12:1-5)
Sermon Starter: From the moment sin entered the world through Adam, God put into motion his plan to restore the world back from separation. At the core of God’s plan of restoration is the act of sending. The People of Israel began with the word “go,” and a promise: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Through Israel would come the final solution to the world’s problem of separation with God — Jesus. Thousands of years later, Jesus would also respond to God’s call to go. Through Jesus all peoples on earth can be reconciled to God and become children of the Most High. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are also recipients of a sending God calling us to go, with a promise that we have become God’s agents of reconciliation.
“Send Me” – The Eager Missionary (Isaiah 6:1-8)
Sermon Starter: While this is a story about Isaiah’s call to be the prophetic voice of challenge to the rebellious children of Israel, still we see a portrait of a sending God. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” In this powerful interaction between Isaiah and Yahweh, we see some relevant lessons for understanding our call today.
- We are not the clean being sent to the unclean. Missional living begins with a confession, “Woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a person of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” In God’s awesome grace, he is quick to atone for our sin and make us clean.
- “Who will go for us?” This question of our sending God reverberates throughout history. The mystery is why God would chose to use us in this way. Couldn’t He do it so much better without us? Yet we have been called to join in God’s work of restoring a broken world back to himself.
- Here I am. Send me. Sometimes we look away, hoping God’s sending gaze wouldn’t notice us. But the cleansing coal has a way of igniting the fire of God’s mission in our hearts and makes us stand up and say, “Here I am, send me.”
Who Am I that I Should Go? – The Hesitant Missionary (Exodus 3:1-12)
Sermon Starter: The Exodus event is the most foundational narrative in all of scripture which revealed God’s plan for restoring the earth. Through the exodus, God revealed himself as the One True God of Creation, claimed Israel as his people, and set the backdrop for Jesus’ exile-ending work in years to come. As God called Abraham with the word “Go,” so too God begins this pivotal event in God’s plan with the word “Go.” But for anyone who has questioned their giftedness or skill level with joining God’s mission, Moses reveals that we are in good company. Moses was hesitant to the point of near belligerence. Yet God sent him with a promise, “I will be with you.” So we too are called and sent, despite all our uncertainty. In our weakness God’s strength is revealed.