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Mission Affirmed: Recovering the Missionary Motivation of Paul

By Elliot Clark

... Show All

Mission Affirmed: Recovering the Missionary Motivation of Paul

By Elliot Clark

... Show All

Seeking a Mission God Affirms, Not Just a Mission Accomplished

As a model for Christian missions, the apostle Paul is praised for his sense of urgency when proclaiming the gospel, but are modern churches missing his broader motivation? Paul didn’t view missions as simply accomplishing a goal; he valued affirmation from God, seeking it fervently in every area of his ministry. How can churches today emulate that ambition in their own mission efforts?

In Mission Affirmed, author and missionary Elliot Clark seeks to shift the focus of ministries from mere efficiency to Christ-centered service that prioritizes the will and approval of God. By studying Paul’s ministry, particularly in 2 Corinthians, readers learn that his motivation wasn’t dependent on circumstances but on the Spirit, helping him remain faithful despite suffering and setbacks. This book equips local churches in the same way as they send missionaries into the field, serving together and stewarding the gospel in pursuit of God’s praise.

Published in partnership with the Gospel Coalition.

Read Chapter 1


Elliot Clark (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) travels around the world to equip church leaders and support residential missionaries. He has also served in Central Asia as a cross-cultural church planter along with his wife and children. He is the author of Mission Affirmed and Evangelism as Exiles.

Product Details

Title: Mission Affirmed
Subtitle: Recovering the Missionary Motivation of Paul
Published: January 11, 2022
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7380-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7380-4
Category: Evangelism & Missions
Retail Price: $19.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Page Count: 256

Table of Contents

Introduction: More Than Mission Accomplished

Chapter 1: Seeking God’s Approval
Chapter 2: Suffering with Christ
Chapter 3: Sending and Being Sent
Chapter 4: Seeing the Invisible
Chapter 5: Speaking the Truth Sincerely
Chapter 6: Setting Boundaries
Chapter 7: Sacrificing Like the Savior
Chapter 8: Serving Christ and Stewarding the Gospel

Appendix: Questions for Churches to Ask a Missionary Candidate
General Index
Scripture Index


“Clark calls missionaries and the churches that support them to faithful ministry that looks to God’s approval and to the reward God gives. We are so quick to live for the praise of people instead of the praise of God. Clark also corrects the idea that Paul invariably planted churches and then moved quickly on to the next field. Instead, we see that Paul continued to labor and work with churches so that they were established in truth. I would love to see every missionary and every church sending and supporting missionaries (which should be all churches!) read this book.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Mission Affirmed is immensely practical, challenging, accessible, and hopeful. It is a call to be more thoroughly and thoughtfully biblical about why we do the things we do in missions. All of us— whether pastors or church members, goers or senders—could all benefit from this insightful book.”
Gloria Furman, author, Missional Motherhood; coeditor, Joyfully Spreading the Word

“The greatest dangers facing the church are internal, but they’re not always obvious. In Mission Affirmed, Elliot Clark reminds us of an unnoticed, even celebrated, danger undermining our mission—the lure of selfish motivations and worldly means to accomplish the Great Commission. Instead, Clark argues, we must embrace Paul’s eschatological motivation. Paul’s longing to be approved by God on the last day fueled his missionary desire and guided his missiological methods. By recovering Paul’s motivation for missions, we, too, will long to please the God who has already accepted us in Christ by his grace, and we will eschew the praise of others. Churches, pastors, Christians, missionaries, sending agencies—we all need this vital reminder.”
Juan Sanchez, Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; author, The Leadership Formula

“Elliot Clark is unafraid to poke at sleeping bears in the world of missions. Are current mission movements biblical? Should we translate the Bible so that it is more palatable to those of other faiths? Are sending churches scrupulous about those they send? For answers, Clark looks to missiologists, missionaries old and new, and his own personal examples, but most of all, thankfully, Clark zeroes in on the apostle Paul and his work in the early church. From Paul’s examples, Clark issues both warnings and helpful corrections so that we will not be disqualified as we run the race of missions.”
J. Mack Stiles, Director, Messenger Ministries Inc.