This past weekend, our Fanning the Flame team listened to a talk on CD given by Tom Cheely of Briarwood Church on the topic of missions at the local church level.
In the 12th chapter of Genesis, Abraham is told,
“all the people on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen 12:3
and in Matthew 28, Jesus instructs the disciples:
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18
The key is that the Good News is for “all nations” — it is not right to eliminate anyone in our efforts to spread the Gospel.
Here are the points Mr. Cheely made in his presentation on missions.
- The Pastor and lay leaders must publicly and vocally support missions in the church. They must teach and live the work of God in the community, nation and the world.
- Ministry needs to be done by the church members. If it is only the job of the Pastor, when he leaves, he will take the mission ministry of the congregation with him.
- There should be written policies and guidelines for ministry: i.e. what types, times and locations of ministry will the congregation be involved in? Without proper research and prayer, ministry will fail. This is also a teaching tool to assist lay leaders in administering the program.
- There should be aggressive prayer ministry for missions. God responds to us when we pray for his guidance.
- Ministry has a cost. This can be a line item in the budget, a specific percentage of collections (both of these approaches are limiting) or it can be faith promised giving, leaving the results in the hands of God. It may mean an adjustment in lifestyle for individuals: for example, examining whether the things we do are always essential or necessary, or it may mean taking a second job to earn more to give away. Ministry also takes people. We need to be willing to give up people in our congregation so that they can be bearers of the Word in other places.
- We must be conscious of the world around us, and reach out to those who are not like us. This might involve short term mission work, across town or in another country.
- We must share what we’ve learned with others in order to help other congregations with ministry development and discipleship in ministry.
Above all, remember this: MISSION OUTREACH IS NOT AN OPTION. It is what we have been commanded to do as the Body of Christ.