The Mission Requires Submission

There are several things we think about when sending a group from our church out on mission for a week or even a weekend.  We expect those going on a mission trip to be people of integrity, faithful in their local church, bold in sharing their faith, and prepared for the work they’re going to do. 

I’ve seen many requirements for going on a mission trip, but I don’t recall ever seeing “submissive” on the list.  Our culture views submissive as a weakness so most don’t want to submit to anyone.  So, should submission be a requirement for going on a mission trip? 

What does submission mean? Google’s dictionary defines submission as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”

Submitting means putting others before yourself; it means not always doing what you want to do. It means putting God’s desires above your desires.

Missionaries on the field with whom short-term mission teams work have prayed and sought the Lord’s direction concerning the people they’re trying to reach, strategies they use and ministry methods.  Well-intentioned short-term volunteer teams generally arrive on the field, filled with excitement and zeal about the mission work they’re planning to do.  They too, have prayed and prepared themselves for this experience.

However, sometimes teams believe they know better than the missionary how the work should be done and question, or even push against the methods or ministry plans.  This creates tension and has the potential to minimize the effectiveness of the mission.

If there is a difference of opinions, an unwillingness by volunteer teams to submit to the missionary in authority shows spiritual immaturity.  And, if the short-term team is unwilling to submit, it is the missionary who remains behind to correct things long after the volunteers leave.

The Bible has much to say about submission: to God (James 4:6-7), to political authorities (Romans 13:1-7), to church leadership (Heb 13:17), within marriage (Col 3:18), and even a general submissiveness of all Christians to one another (Eph 5:21).

We all have a lot we can learn about submission. Submission can be a very hard thing. When Jesus prayed for an alternative to the cross (Luke 22:39- 44), he wanted another way so badly that he sweat drops of blood. However, He chose to follow the Father’s plan even when it was hard. All of us should be extremely grateful that He did.

There may be times as a volunteer team member that you believe you know better than the missionary what is best and that what you’re being asked to do doesn’t even make sense to you.  Like Jesus, you may find it hard to follow the plan, but exercise submission to the missionary in authority and trust our Father for the results. 

SEND Relief: Respond to the Afghan Refugee Crisis Today!

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” In the midst of the current tragedy, I want to recognize the beautiful, courageous, and marvelous Afghan people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Although many of their stories have yet to be told, their unwavering spirit, strength, and bravery is #notforgotten. Church, let us take time today to pray for them, and then let us take a lifetime to serve and embrace them with love of Christ.

Through our cooperative program giving (SBC), we (Kentucky Baptist) are able to have authentic impact by bringing help and hope to Afghan refugees as they resettle in communities around the world. Here is how you and your church can get involved today through SEND Relief, which is the global compassion wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. We are Stronger Together! *(Info below comes from SEND Relief):

Overview

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, storming across the nation and capturing all major cities within a matter of days.

In the aftermath of the political coup, a mass exodus is building as Afghans try to flee the country by the thousands. One group of Afghan refugees seeking escape are Christians fleeing immanent persecution, as well as other religious minorities, ethnic minorities and women and girls.

Send Relief is strategically working with World Relief and our trusted global ministry partners to minister to Afghan refugee families around the world. As refugees flee persecution and resettle in communities around the globe, Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to give, pray and volunteer to support our response.

Your gifts to the Afghanistan Refugee Crisis Fund will provide welcome kits, ESL classes, job interview prep and more. Give today to bring help and healing to Afghan refugees.

How You and Your Church Can Serve

Ways to Pray for Afghanistan

  • Pray for the Afghan people as they navigate political unrest, violence and persecution. Pray that they may find peace in Christ among overwhelming circumstances.
  • Pray that God would intervene and glorify His name in this tragic situation.
  • Pray for Afghan believers whose lives are being threatened by the new regime. Ask God to give them courage and strength.
  • Pray for Afghans at risk because of their service alongside the U.S. government and that they would be quickly and safely evacuated.
  • Pray that the millions of Afghans who have never heard the Gospel will have an opportunity to hear.
  • Pray for neighboring countries, as well as countries around the globe, as they attempt to host the surge of refugees coming out of Afghanistan.
  • Pray for Afghans who are desperately trying to leave Afghanistan.
  • Pray that those helping will be able to overcome obstacles as they facilitate the exits and relocations of Afghans.
  • Pray that the physical needs of those waiting at entrances and at the airport will be met, including protection, water and more.
  • Pray for favor and that pathways become available to safety and relocation.
  • Pray for countries to open their borders and for people to open their hearts to those being displaced from their homes.
  • Pray for those who will not be relocated.

Partner as a Church

In Kentucky, contact John Barnett, KBC missions strategist ([email protected]), to discover new opportunities and strategic pathways to help equip your church to love and serve refugees both locally and globally.

You Make Me Smile…Thank You

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Do you have those people around you that just make you smile? There are various reasons why certain people make you smile, and those reasons can vary from person to person.

Some people make you smile because of past experiences of fun and laughter. As you reminisce about different people or events the smiles and laughter just come. Other people make you smile because of some dumb things they have done, or possibly you have done with them. I am sure that can bring back lots of memories full of smiles.

Then there are those who make you smile because of what they have accomplished. It might be the student that just graduated high school or college. A proud parent cannot help but smile at the accomplishments of their child. It could be you landed your dream job or found that “one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with. It makes your heart smile.

We smile at the funny things people say or do. I smile often at my grandsons at the things they say and the funny faces they make. Just the presence of their faces brings smiles. In fact, whether a spouse, a child, grandchild, or someone just special to you can bring a smile because they are important to you.

Then there are those who make you smile because of who they are. Because of their heart. Because of how they care, serve, and love others. They are special people who impact lives. And as you think about all they do and how they serve, you cannot help but smile with appreciation for their dedication and love for God.

I am blessed to serve Kentucky Baptists as the State Disaster Relief Director. Watching these disaster relief volunteers serve in some difficult situations, lodge in some uncomfortable places, and work in some hot and dirty conditions, yet come out with smiles on their faces eager to go again. This dedicated service is indicative of their heart. Seeing that heart to serve and love brings a huge smile to my face.

August 22 is Disaster Relief Appreciation Sunday across our churches in Kentucky. We are asking all of our DR volunteers to wear gold that Sunday. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation to them as well. They are special people and just hearing their stories and seeing their heart, you will smile too.

Great Commission Difference

Gospel work is hard work.  The apostle Paul knew this reality well.  Not long after setting out on his first missionary journey he and Barnabas experienced much opposition (Acts 13:45).  In fact, Paul’s normal pattern of gospel engagement included going where the people (Jews first) were gathered, sharing Jesus, and then seeing a variety of responses (Acts 13-14).  Some believed and embraced the message with great joy.  Others baulked at this message of a Messiah crucified and raised from the dead.  In many places where Paul and Barnabas preached Jesus, they were forced to leave. Yet, in their leaving they often saw a fledgling church birthed from their gospel proclamation. 

To be sure, these new church plants, as we would describe them today, were stationed in locations where the gospel soil was hard.  For various reasons, not least of which Jewish traditions, these new churches faced an uphill climb to reach their cities with the good news of a Jewish Messiah who was crucified and raised to life on the third day.  Let’s face it, Jesus warned his first followers that if the world hated him, they would no less hate them and anyone after them too (John 15:18).

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Nearing the end of Paul’s first missionary journey, he recognizes the importance of encouraging those fledgling churches.  He makes his way back to them “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith…” (Acts 14:22).  Why is this necessary so soon after these churches were birthed?  Because gospel work is hard work and if churches (and missionaries) are not careful and intentional, they can find themselves overwhelmed by the daily needs of the flock and the opposition of the unbelieving world around them.

Paul knows this from personal experience, so he models for these new churches an important Great Commission component. Other churches can help provide longevity in the gospel work of others through their encouragement.  Perhaps often overlooked, encouragement of other pastors, churches, and missionaries is a critical piece in an overall understanding of Great Commission faithfulness. 

Missionaries find themselves discouraged at the prospect of reaching a people hostile to the good news of Jesus, as well as all the challenges that come with living in a new culture. Pastors find themselves down over the lack of commitment of members in the church. Those in the church feel deflated at times when the ministry they help lead has few involved in it.  The point is clear: we all need people in our lives to encourage us to keep running, to not grow weary.

So, what is a person to do to bring encouragement?  Think of two approaches to encouragement.  First, pray weekly.  Second, encourage (tangibly) at least monthly.  Identify a missionary, pastor, and/or church (members) that you can pray for weekly and encourage monthly.  Let them know you are praying for them (ask for specific needs from them to intercede for them). Then monthly, find various ways to lift them up: send a text message, write a card, mail them a gift package, remember their birthday(s), make a visit.  In other words, be creative about the ways you can pour into them while they are pouring into others for the gospel.  In doing so, I am convinced that God will use your encouragement as a means for their perseverance.  Never underestimate how your encouragement will make a Great Commission difference. 

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

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Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16