Displaced People: God’s Great Commission Strategy

Displaced People: God’s Great Commission Strategy

We live in an incredibly unique time to fulfill the great commission! Every day, millions of people are moving across the planet and communities, cities, and countries are literally changing overnight. In the midst of this migration, God is opening new pathways for the church to be on mission both locally and globally. Taking the gospel to the ends of earth is not only about being a sending church, but also a receiving church. It has always been God’s design for the gospel to spread to and through diaspora communities, or through those who have been displaced from their homeland.

Welcoming the nations locally

As God poured out His Spirit in Acts 2, the disciples began to fulfill the Great Commission by ministering among the diaspora in their midst. The apostles were preaching to, baptizing, and discipling the “devout men from every nation” who had come to Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost. These men, both Jews and proselytes, had come from the Near East, Asia Minor, North Africa, Arabia, and from the known world. Under the apostle’s leadership, they formed the church, faced persecution, boldly proclaimed Christ, helped those in need, and God added to their numbers daily.

During the pandemic, God opened the door for KBC churches to embrace the displaced people across the state. One church was able to not only love, serve, and welcome a refugee family from an unreached people group to KY, but also to lead them to the Lord. Through Zoom, the team met Ibrahim’s mother, who still lived in a refugee camp in Central Asia. After hearing her son’s testimony, Ibrahim’s mom was willing to let an IMB worker visit her home. As she heard the gospel in her heart language, she not only came to know Christ, but also opened her home to host a Bible Study for women in the camp!  

In partnership with World Hope Bible Institute, the Mobilization Team started a training center for international pastors in Louisville.  Multiple pastors from across the state are providing theological education for 11 pastors from East Africa. Also, the Lord opened the door for KBC churches to partner and plant two new Congolese churches, and now these 11 pastors shepherd 4 different congregations.

Going to the nations globally

In Acts 8, God allowed persecution to send Philip to preach the gospel in Samaria, and God used an angel to send him to lead an Ethiopian eunuch to Christ in middle of the desert. In Acts 11, scattered believers from Cyprus and Cyrene preached about Jesus to the Greeks and many believed. They called themselves Christians and formed Antioch church. Then, in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit called out members from this church of displaced people to declare God’s glory among the nations.

In June, volunteers from 3 KBC churches went on an emergency trip to West Africa, in order to help IMB workers serve displaced people in crisis. On this trip, God used the team to not only open new pathways to love and serve those in crisis, but also to share the gospel with Muslims who have never heard. After sharing the story of Jesus healing the paralytic in one of the camps, one of the Muslim men said, “No one has ever told me that about Jesus. If Jesus can forgive sins, then that would make him God, right?” Now, local pastors are leading Bible studies in the camps.

Declaring God’s glory among the nations by ministering to and through the diaspora has always been a part of God’s global plan. The question for us is simple: Are we willing to join him? Discover the new opportunities for you and your church today. Contact John Barnett email: [email protected] phone: 502-654-3385.

Are you a READY CHURCH?

WHAT IS A READY CHURCH?

Most churches and organizations fail to plan and prepare and tend to be more reactive rather than proactive to any type of crisis or disaster. Because of this, they often find themselves wondering what to do, how to do it and who to call for assistance. Very often churches have the resources and volunteers capable of the work but failed to prepare properly that when disaster strikes, they find themselves unable to respond effectively.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief offers a strategy plan. “READY CHURCH” is a strategy and tool to aid churches to prepare, connect and respond in times of crisis or disaster. This strategy plan will give churches the ideas, tools, and direction to respond effectively and in a timely manner to assist their community when disasters happen.

READY CHURCH strategy will give the local church the tools to be equipped to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the local community.

The goal of READY CHURCH is three-fold:

  • To assist churches to PREPARE for disasters by developing a plan for preparedness.
  • To assist churches to CONNECT with the local community prior to a disaster or crisis.
  • To assist churches to RESPOND in the local community when disaster or crisis happens.

You have heard the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

READY CHURCH will help your church plan for:

  • How to respond to crisis or disasters, large or small.
  • How to involve your church family with training and roles.
  • How to minister and evangelize during a crisis or disaster.
  • How to be the light of Christ beyond the crisis or disaster.

Paul challenges Titus and the church “To be ready for every good work.” Titus 3:1

Communities across the Commonwealth have the potential to experience tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, windstorms, power outages, fires, explosions, industrial accidents, vehicle crash, train derailments, riots, public shootings, and more.

When communities experience such tragic events, our emotion and compassion kicks in, and we tend to react rather than respond. The goal of READY CHURCH is to prepare your church to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to make a lasting difference in your community.

During times of tragedy and loss, people will need compassionate people to love on them, care for them, and help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually deal with their loss. The Scripture encourages us to minister and care for the widow, orphans, strangers, broken, wounded and to the “very least of these.” This is the perfect time for the church to be the church.

We live in a dark and fallen world that needs to see and hear the light of the Gospel. Compassion ministry creates opportunities to share the Gospel and hope through Christ. You have heard it said, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Disasters and crisis open doors that have often been closed to the Gospel if the local church would compassionately respond and care for those who are hurting.

READY CHURCH enables the church to prepare for times of disaster. It is not a matter if the disaster or crisis will come to a community, but when. Churches need to be ready to respond promptly and properly.

READY CHURCH will help you identify real need and not perceived or manufactured need.

READY CHURCH will guide you through assembling your team, identifying community leaders, knowing your resources, understanding needs, and guide you through implementing your plan.

READY CHURCH will help you:

  • Develop Your Roles
  • Determine Your Resources
  • Define Your Response

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines preparedness as a “continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.”

In other words, READY CHURCH is not designed to be a training for information, but rather a training for continual action.

The Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can assist you in developing your church as a READY CHURCH. Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Contact us today at 502-489-3401 or [email protected] We are here for you. 

5 Ps of Mission Partnerships

Each local church has the same mission from God regardless of the location or culture of that congregation.  In essence, all churches are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19-20).  While we have the creativity and wisdom to nuance how each church carries out this God-given mandate, multiplying disciples is the mission of the church.  No church can be everywhere, but every church is called to make disciples of all nations.  How is this possible?  One practical way for every church to make disciples of all nations is by partnering well with missionaries who serve among the nations. 

IMB photo

One of our IMB missionary partners helped develop what we call the 5 Ps of partnership.  In other words, how can your church partner practically with missionaries who live among the nations in order for your church to be part of discipling all nations?  While Southern Baptists are part of impacting all nations through our Cooperative Program giving, we also want to make personal connections with missionaries in order to put a “face” to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and, in our state, Eliza Broadus. 

Here are 5 ways to partner with missionaries for global disciple-making:

  • Prayer– This is where it all begins. No partnership should pursue any of the other four “Ps” without starting here. This is God’s work. The book of Acts describes the early church as being empowered through prayer (Acts 1:14).  Developing a prayer strategy is essential for global impact.
  • Pastoral– Often overlooked, pastoral (soul) care provides missionary longevity. The book of Acts describes how the early church provided encouragement for mission partners. (Acts 14:21-22).  Paul intentionally encouraged his partners, knowing that ministry is a road filled with adversity.
  • Project– Mission trips are what most people think of in terms of partnership.  Project partners (local churches) should listen to their mission partners (missionaries), assisting in their existing platforms and identities to help and not hinder long-term work.  As needed, churches can help missionaries accomplish much in disciple-making through mission trips, particularly as they assist them along the missionary task.
  • People group/Place– The focus here is on the people group/place itself; that is, there is an understanding workers may come and go, but a long-term commitment to supporting a planting effort among a particular people group/place can take different forms and involve different people over time.  The local church commits to that people group/place regardless of whether missionaries come or go.
  • Pioneer– Perhaps the least common among these five, Pioneer Partners take the work on for themselves, mobilizing their own teams to directly engage in the long-term planting effort.  Realizing that the need is greater than there is manpower, Pioneer Partners commit to enter a location themselves with the help of nearby missionaries. 

If the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can help your church intentionally develop mission partnerships by thinking through the 5 Ps, please let us know ([email protected]).  We are here to help. 

Remembering Bro. Jerrell

Last week our KY-MSC Family lost one of our longest-serving members.  Bro. Jerrell White, who had served as a KY-MSC Missionary with the Earle C. Clements Job Corps in Morganfield since September 1999, went home to be with the Lord. 

Bro. Jerrell was one of the most encouraging men I have ever met and was the “life of the party” whenever we met for our annual missionary retreats.  During the last retreat he and Mrs. Connie attended, I walked out in the hall and heard singing.  He had found a piano, recruited a pianist, gathered a group of the missionaries together, and they were singing the old hymns to the top of their lungs.  Of course, I joined in. It was so much fun. 

Nearly every time I talked with him, whether on the phone or in person, he thanked me for the leadership I gave to the missionaries and then asked to pray for me.  I recall the evening I was working in western Kentucky, and they asked me to spend the night.  Before bedtime he, Mrs. Connie, and I gathered in their living room for a time of singing, devotion, and prayer.  It was such a special time and a memory I will never forget.    

Arlene Miller, the KBC west region mobilization consultant shared, “Bro. Jerrell was an inspiration.   He could do more than everybody else put together.  When I called to get his report each year, he had been involved in more activities than all of us put together.  This inspired me to want to try harder.” 

Not only was Bro. Jerrell involved in “activities”, but you can be sure he was befriending and sharing the love of Christ with those he encountered.  Every year he reported 8-15 men and women at Job Corps that he had led to faith in Christ. For his faithful service, Bro. Jerrell was chosen as the 2005 Kentucky MSC Missionary of the Year.

Bro. Jerrell, thank you committing your life to the Lord and for sharing Him with all of us.  May we follow the example you set for us to love Him, serve Him, and share Him with others.  We loved you and gonna miss you.

Please pray for Mrs. Connie and family during the difficult days ahead.