He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010 

Touching the World: Promote & Do Missions

- taken from BECOMING A GREAT COMMISSION CHURCH by Dr. Chuck Lawless -

For some amazing reason, God has graciously chosen to use His church to reach the world. Through the preaching of the Word and the witness of His people, God is drawing to Himself a people from around the world (Rev. 5:8-10). The fact that we are permitted to share in this great work is astounding to me.

Too often, though, we leave missions to the “professional” missionaries who are serving “somewhere over there.” How regrettable (and disobedient) this is, especially when communication and transportation are so advanced today. Consider these simple ways to increase your church’s commitment to global outreach:

1. Ask God to give you a heart for the world. I have seen entire churches grow burdened about the Great Commission after God moved first in the life of only one church member. Ask God to move in your heart in that way. Read about the world; learn about needs; weep over lostness. Passionate, mission-minded church members are difficult to ignore!

2. Teach the next generation about missions. I fear that many of our churches have so neglected missions training for our next generations that our children no longer have missionary heroes. If Lottie Moon is only a name and the needs of the world are known only through cable news, few of our children will ever grieve for 1.7 billion people who have little access to the Gospel. Who of the next generation will take the Gospel into the darkness if our children know nothing about missions? Decide now to start or strengthen your church’s missions training for children and youth.

3. Promote, promote, and promote again any missions offering that your church supports. Out of the wealth God has given us, we are privileged to help sustain global outreach. I am convinced that, even in a time of economic crunch, God’s people will give if they believe in the cause – and if their leaders challenge them. On the other hand, leaders who assume that members will not give should expect little in return. Teach your members about the needs of the world, and introduce them to the sacrificial work of missionaries around the world. Show them that their giving matters, and challenge them to give until the sacrifice is real.

4. Invite stateside missionaries to speak to your church. Here is a truth that church leaders must understand: it is not the responsibility of missionaries alone to seek places to speak. They do desire prayer partners, and they do want to tell their stories – but the process of recruiting speakers should begin with church leaders who want their congregations to do the Great Commission. Nothing speaks to churches quite like a “real live” missionary does, and the time set aside for a missionary speaker is time well spent. Contact your state convention or one of our Southern Baptist mission agencies to find the names of missionaries available to come to your church.

5. Challenge church members to pray daily for missionaries. I suspect that Southern Baptists talk about praying for missionaries more than we actually pray for them. Church leader, be a real leader here – set the example by praying at least weekly for North American and international missionaries. Provide for your congregation a list of missionary names and needs, being careful to protect those who serve in sensitive areas. Set aside time in the worship service to pray specifically for missionaries and unreached people groups. Great Commission praying should be such a part of the DNA of your church that you make it difficult for members not to pray for missionaries.

6. Sponsor short-term mission trips for your church members. Teaching about missions is a starting point, but actually experiencing missions can be life-changing. Perhaps your church will become the first to send a team to an unreached people group, or maybe your members will assist in planting a church in a North American urban center. Set a goal to send at least 10 percent of your church’s active attenders on a mission trip this year. Be sure to work with on-the-ground missionaries who are developing strategies, and plan to assist in doing the entire Great Commission: reaching people, and then discipling the new believers.

7. Challenge your church members to be missionaries, including in their own neighborhoods. No longer is the mission field only overseas. The world has come to North America, and our neighbors sometimes speak a different language and worship a different “god.” Evangelism in North America now requires crossing cultural barriers in order to gain a hearing and speak the Gospel. Challenge your members to be missionaries much like the early church, who “went everywhere gossiping the Gospel; they did it naturally, enthusiastically, and with the conviction of those who are not paid to say that sort of thing.” More specifically, intentionally and fervently pray for God to raise up career international missionaries from your congregation. Missionaries — both North American and abroad — should be Great Commission extensions of your local church.

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