Do a search of the word “nations” in your Bible app and you’ll discover that reaching across borders – whether those boundaries are constructed by prejudice, fear, ethnicity, politics, natural or man-made barriers – originated in the heart of God in the pages of the Bible with the smallest page numbers. The concept has nothing to do with spreading religion. It’s an actionable partnership between God and man to bring all people everywhere into relationship with the Living God; to make the Name of Jesus famous among every single family on Earth.
Church history and the history of international missions are intertwined. The Bible we read in our churches and prayer closets in more than 650 languages – over 1,500 translations of the the New Testament alone according to Wycliffe Bible Translators – is the product of the people of God reaching across ethnic boundaries at some point in history to reach other people foreign to them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Your task, mission pastor, mission committee director, or local church educator, is to make sure the church community you’re a part of knows this.
People are going about their lives and not thinking about the responsibility the local church has to the Great Commission. The Great Commission is repeated in all four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles: Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8.
Our response as local churches to the Great Commission through one or more of these three options:
This is not one of the programs a church should have. It is the purpose of the Church. Dear reader, if the tone this is written in seems pastoral, instructional, direct, then the goal is accomplished. As a mission pastor, mission committee director, or local church educator, these convictions need to dwell deeply inside and your communication with others needs to be wisely, unapologetically seasoned with them. It’s your job to educate and inspire.
So let’s discuss inspiration for the remainder of this piece. This is the most rewarding part of your role because your local church is the primary vehicle God has created for accomplishing the fulfillment of the Great Commission. And you’re in a key role.
Here are some action items for you:
- Give ownership of missions to the congregation.
- Lead your congregation in being intentional about caring for missionaries. They are part of the family. The local church is the best organization to care for missionaries.
- Lead in prayer for missionaries. People want to pray, but often, they don’t know what to pray for. Provide a list of missionaries, their focus in the field, and their needs.
- There are people in the congregation that are called to go to the mission field… provide teaching, guidance and affirmation. Local churches are best resourced to send missionaries.
- Elevate church’s missions awareness.
- Provide biblical basis for mission.
- Lead a short-term trip. This is a life-changing experience.
- Educate about the need for world evangelization.
- Tell missions stories. People love stories.
- Make space on the church website and social media for missions.
- Enhance interest, resources and fruitfulness.
The local church, when focused and taught well, is the most nimble, efficient organization for sending missionaries to the mission field.
Inspiration for writing this article did not come from me, it came from mentors in my life that have exposed me to missions beginning in the local church and ending with my family moving to the mission field to a country in the 10/40 Window.
As you inspire, you will light a fire under people in your congregation. There’s no telling how God will fan that spark into a flame. Don’t aim for typical.
Life as a Christian comes without borders or limitations. Start asking people in your church community: “What if?”