HOW SHOULD THE CHURCH RESPOND TO THOSE ENSLAVED TODAY?
“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Rebuke the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16-19).
The church cannot ignore the issue of human trafficking. The church is called stand against evil, seek justice, care for the least of these, and rebuke the oppressor. Our God calls us to speak out and to reach out.
AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, HE CALLS US TO BE AGENTS OF JUSTICE AND TRUTH… OF LOVE AND GRACE.
What can the church do?
- Care enough to get involved.
- Begin paying attention and being aware of those that may be victims of human trafficking.
- Avoid the temptation to blame the victims for their situations.
- Be willing to reach out and offer a hand of help and hope to someone victimized by trafficking. Offer unconditional love and remember that the chains of sin are not always broken quickly.
- Realize that breaking the chains of trafficking will not come easy; it will require time, patience, and endurance.
- Understand that not every situation will result in success, but through the power of God, victories are possible.
- Address the issue of pornography honestly with your church from the pulpit and in small groups.
- Begin men’s and women’s groups, where individuals can find a safe place to share their struggles and be freed from pornography’s hold through transparency, accountability, biblical study, and prayer.
- Train church, children, and youth leaders to recognize the signs of abuse and trafficking vulnerability; and seek to increase awareness how perpetrators utilize extortion and weak areas to exploit the vulnerable.
- Utilize MinistrySafe and their five-part system that provides a framework for sexual abuse prevention in your ministry areas.
- Be cautious in allowing new members or new attendees to your church in serving in children’s or youth ministry.
- Conduct Child Protection training for church, youth, and children’s leaders.
- Develop child protection policies that build in safeguards.
- Conduct background checks on youth and children’s leaders in the church before allowing them to serve.
- Teach Biblical sexuality in appropriate settings to youth and adults.
- Support or volunteer with a ministry that is working to free victims from trafficking.
The church can make a difference and free those chained by exploitation and evil.
“Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).
After you’ve planned, prepared, implemented and returned from your mission trip, it’s time to unpack. Not just your suitcase, but the mission experience itself. Follow-up is an important part of going on mission because it helps the participant to understand what they learned and how God can use it in their everyday life. There are people needing a witness in our own neighborhood and unreached people in our local community. Taking a mission trip to another state or even a foreign country should help us to be more comfortable sharing our faith and encourage us to be a Christian witness in our hometown. There are so many ways to impact our community and the area around our church using the same skills and resources we take overseas. So, help your church members returning from their mission trip to unpack their experience and awaken within them the realization that the mission isn’t over.
Here are some suggestions for unpacking the mission experience that provide continued growth:
- Talk about the ministry experience and ask how what they did there can be used here at home.
- Share journal entries, pictures and videos with the church.
- Have a time of testimony and “sharing” during a public worship service.
- Provide a safe environment for discussing what they learned about themselves (weaknesses, failures, disappointments) and what God is teaching them.
- Ask them what they learned about God?
- Share about the experience on social media with pictures and testimony of God’s activity.
- Challenge them to consider how the mission experience may be the beginning of a journey God has planned for them, leading to vocational ministry, missionary service, or involvement in local ministry.
- Help them to plan service initiatives at home that draw connections between their missions experience away and service at home.
- Encourage them to continue the spiritual disciplines practiced on the trip like prayer, devotions, Bible study and worship.
- Send letters or emails of thanks and encouragement to the host missionary. Share with them how God used the mission experience.
- Discuss what “next steps” they will take on their spiritual journey.
- Send a reminder email or letter to every participant 1 month after returning with a picture of the group on the mission trip with the words… “Don’t forget! God did great things and He isn’t finished with you.”
Unpacking the experience can be a tremendous blessing and serve as a reminder to what God did … and is still doing.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Mission Mobilization Team is blessed to have 7 “self-funded” mobilization consultants across the state that stand ready to help a church, association or individual connect with in-state missions.
Their primary duties are to:
- Establish and maintain good relations with Directors of Missions, pastors, and churches in their regions.
- Recruit and enlist Kentucky Mission Service Corps and North American Mission Board MSC-funded (self-funded) missionaries, including developing prospects, following up on missionary leads, maintaining contact with the prospects, and assisting with the application process.
- Identify needs and discover places of service in Kentucky. This includes assisting with the completion of missionary requests and suggesting possible uses of KY-MSC missionaries to ministries, churches and associations.
- Promote and actively “tell the Kentucky missionary story.” They are available to make presentations at churches, associational executive board meetings, associational annual meetings, mission fairs, community events, On Mission Celebrations, etc.
- Serve as a liaison between the missionaries in their region and the KBC and/or NAMB. The consultants check regularly on the missionaries to offer support, encouragement, networking, and prayer, and communicate specific needs and prayer concerns related to the missionaries.
- Assist with short-term volunteerism, helping to identify new ministries and locate areas where short-term volunteers are needed. The consultants also help to connect mission teams with mission opportunities.
Serving as Mission Mobilization Consultants are:
- George & Cathy Chinn from Hartford (South-Central Region).
- Ryan Horrell from Louisville (Central Region).
- Pat Howard from Bowling Green (South-Central Region).
- Arlene Miller from Crofton (West Region).
- John Morris from McDowell (East Region).
- Twyla Sheffield from Winchester (North-Central Region).
Currently the South Region position is vacant and Teresa Parrett, KBC Missions Mobilization Coordinator, covers that area. (If you live in the South Region and are interested in serving as a KBC Regional Mobilization Consultant, please contact the Missions Mobilization office at [email protected].)
We are grateful for these 7 individuals, their knowledge of Kentucky missions, and their commitment to serve. They are available to you, so feel free to call on them at any time. They will be happy to assist.