Adopt a Sent-One  

Missionary Care Through Missional Communities

Taking the gospel to the nations is not an easy task. As missionaries go out to proclaim the good news, they often become discouraged and consider quitting. Why? They feel as if they are entirely on their own, without the active support of sending brothers and sisters who can uphold, encourage, provide, and pray for them. The church’s desire should be obedience to the Scriptures as a going AND sending, supporting community. The little letter of 3 John calls the church to both send out and care for its missionaries “in a manner worthy of God.” It calls us to partnership – to “work together for the truth” with those we send to faraway lands. John commands us to love these missionaries with a hands-on kind of love, even if we do not know them personally (verse 5) precisely because we are partners in the gospel! This means that one of the best ways your Community Group can get involved in international missions is to adopt a missionary and begin caring for them.

The church’s vision may be to see each of our missionary units supported by several Community Groups who are strategically praying for, communicating with, and regularly sending packages to our member missionaries. Bottom line: We want each of our missionaries to have real and consistent care just as 3 John says they should. Would your group be willing to adopt a missionary, provide the care, and the love they need? If so, here are your next steps:

  • Talk it over as a group. Pray about it as a group. Discern your ability and willingness, as a group, to commit the time, energy, resources, and relational investment necessary to love and serve one of our missionaries or ministries well, “in a manner worthy of God” (v 6).
  • Designate a person in your group who will be the missionary care leader. This person/couple will connect with both the missionary and a Missions Mobilization Team member.
  • Get started. There are numerous ways you can care for your missionary unit:  
    • Prayer– Get prayer requests from your missionary unit and pray as a group at least once a month.
    • Communication– Have personal conversations with your missionary unit at least once a month through email, written letters, or Zoom.
    • Care packages– Commit to send a care package to your missionary unit at least twice a year. Set a goal of once a quarter.
    • Have them Visit– When your missionary unit is in the U.S., have them come and visit your group.
    • Visit them– Encourage group members to visit your missionary unit on the field. People could do this individually or you could do this as a group, if possible.

Adopting a missionary is a simple way you and your Missional Community can begin serving in missions. For information about adopting a Kentucky MSC missionary, visit  www.kybaptist.org/adopt-a-missionary. To learn more about adoption options with national and international SBC missionaries, contact the Missions Mobilization Team ([email protected] or 502-489-3530).    

Both…And!

I had the opportunity last week to spend several days in eastern Kentucky alongside disaster relief volunteers who were providing help, hope and healing following historic flooding in thirteen counties.  I saw families who had lost everything, literally everything except the clothes on their backs. Homes were washed down river, cars destroyed, personal possessions lost, and everything left behind covered in mud.  Flood insurance is almost non-existent, and families are overwhelmed and uncertain what to do next.  The question was raised in a discussion with someone who had come to help, “are we here to help them recover from the flood or share the gospel?”  The answer is Yes! 

Caring for the needs of others is not an option for Christ followers. Jesus demonstrated this by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, casting out demons and raising the dead. If we are going to identify with Him, then we too, must love our neighbors and help those in need.    

However, preaching the gospel is not an option either.  Jesus said I was sent to preach the kingdom of God to others. We too, have an obligation to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16). Furthermore, those who are lost can’t believe and call upon Christ to be saved unless they hear the gospel preached (Romans 10:14). 

So, which was more important to Jesus, caring for the needs of others or preaching the gospel?  I don’t know that he had a preference.  We find that Jesus preached and cared for others everywhere he went.  Every time Jesus sent out the disciples, He commanded them to take care of the needy as they preached the gospel.

We understand from scripture that after Jesus’ return to heaven, the disciples followed His example of simultaneously preaching and caring for others.  We observe in the life of Jesus and the disciples, that caring for hurting people provides opportunities for preaching the gospel. Jesus didn’t send some of us to preach and others to do disaster relief or community service. 

Helping mud out a flooded home is complimentary to sharing the gospel.  Blending the feeding of a family in a shelter with telling them about Jesus is God-honoring.  Providing a place to shower or do laundry can easily be mixed with listening to others and sharing how we’ve found hope in Christ.

A healthy balance between meeting needs and preaching the gospel can be so effective in reaching the lost.  Success of this approach is evidenced in the sixty-four (64) lives that have come to faith in Christ because of the flood recovery efforts in eastern Kentucky in the last several weeks.

Remember the question that prompted this post – “are we here to help them recover from the flood or share the gospel?”  I’m not saying that caring for the needy is equal to sharing the gospel.  But both are important because they are expected of Christ followers.  They are two sides of the same coin and there will certainly be synergy and life transformation when we do both together, just as Jesus did. 

Care Teams for Sent-Ones

Care Teams are the most tangible expression of our church’s commitment to support our missionaries who are serving in cross-cultural environments. The team is centered around one team leader and can be made up of 3-8 individuals who provide on-going care and support. They serve as a primary link between the church as a whole and the missionary.

Simply put, a care team is a group of people who deeply love and care for their missionary unit. They communicate, pray for and stay connected to their missionary unit on a regular basis. Because of these strong personal relationships, the missionaries can be open and honest, allowing his or her team to see needs and share successes and defeats.

What Is the Vision for a Care Team?

There are two major roles of every Care Team: care and representation. The success of the care team depends on its ability to accomplish these two goals from the time that the missionary unit prepares to leave for the field until his or her return.

Care 

Many missionaries minister in physically challenging environments. Some are raising children far from extended family. Others struggle with cultural adjustments and language barriers. Most significantly, all serve on the front lines of spiritual warfare. For survival and spiritual health, every missionary unit needs the assurance that they are not alone, that there are others in the body of Christ who love them and are committed to their welfare and to the success of their work. Missionaries need empathetic listeners and caring friends who are not in a supervisory role. The Care Team can consistently provide that kind of spiritual and emotional care. Caring also involves identifying specific needs which the team can meet or organize others in the church to meet.

Representation

The Care Team also champions the missionary and his or her work to the church body and advocates for ongoing participation in their ministry even when he or she is far away. Thanks to the efforts of the Care Team, the church feels an ongoing sense of connection to our workers.

What Does a Care Team Look Like?

We have intentionally kept the structure of our Care Teams simple. The foundation of each Care Team is the team leader. He/She is the one who has the main connection with the missionary unit and leads the team in all aspects. The team leader either already knows the missionary deeply or commits to build a deep relationship. The rest of the team is built under the leadership of this committed person.

Each Care Team will look different. Some will have a team leader with 6-8 additional people on the team while others will have a leader with just one or two additional people on the team. Both types of teams can serve as great care networks for our missionaries.

Depending on the team members’ season of life, people may need to step out of their Care Team. We ask however that team leaders commit to the missionary full term (2-4 years) and/or be willing to replace themselves in this role if needed.

What Does a Care Team Do?

Meet Monthly

Teams can meet at anytime and anywhere; we just ask that each team meet once a month to fulfill their role as advocates. We suggest that you build a team around a missional group that already exist in the church. For example, Sunday School Class members, Prayer group, Life Group, Community group, etc.

Pray

The main role of a Care Team is to pray monthly as a team and on an individual basis. We also ask that you hold your missionaries accountable to regularly update their prayer requests.

Stay Connected

Ask any missionary and they will tell you that they rarely stay connected with their friends and church family back home. Part of providing care to missionaries is the commitment to stay connected. Your missionary unit should hear from you at least once a month. This can happen through emails, Zoom, handwritten letters or any number of creative ways. Make sure this is part of your team meeting.

Send Care Packages

Nothing says I love you to a missionary quite like a box full of ranch dressing mix, chocolate and a few good books! Care Teams will send at least two care packages a year to their missionary unit. Perhaps the church can help with the cost of shipping two packages each year with hopes of your team sending a few more packages using personal funds, if possible.

Help with Departure and Arrival

Some of the hardest times for your missionary unit will be preparing to leave for the field and returning home for a stateside visit. There are a thousand things that need to be done and we ask that your team jump in and help as much as possible.

How Do We Get Started?

Here are three things to do to get your Care Team started:

Email the Team

Once the team leader is in place, he/she can email others on the team or start recruiting for the team. Get everyone on an email list and start communicating with one another.

Email your Missionary

The team leader needs to email the missionary and let them know their Care Team is forming. Ask for prayer requests and invite the missionary unit to the first meeting via Zoom.

Meet as a Team

Set a date for your first meeting. Pick a home to meet in and share a meal with one another. During this meeting make sure you get to know each other, pray for the missionaries and if possible, talk to your missionary unit on Zoom. Also make sure you set up a regular time and place to meet.

The Blessing of Serving

The Bible is full of illustrations of numerous people who served the Lord for the sake of the gospel. Jesus Himself came not to be served but to serve. (Luke 22:24-27). Jesus was our greatest example of servanthood, but we find many more such as: Paul, Peter, Andrew, Barnabas, Timothy, Mary, and the list goes on. Each one of these had a different personality and giftedness and expressed it in their unique way.


It reminds me of the words Peter, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

As I think about the blessing of serving, four things come to mind.

Serving Requires Sacrifice.
Any time we serve others, it requires a sacrifice on our part in some way. It may be our time, our resources, our finances, our talents, our abilities, or in other ways. It will always take effort and sacrifice when serving others.

Serving Removes Self.
When we serve others, our attention shifts from self to others. Our focus is turned to the one of whom we are serving rather than on ourselves. It develops a completely different focus and purpose. Rather than always seeking to serve our own needs, we discover we find joy in serving and caring for others.

Serving Reveals the Savior.
We are no more like Christ than when we are serving others. Isn’t that what He came to do? Wasn’t that the whole focus on His ministry? And ultimately, He served us by providing our salvation through His death on the cross. He sacrificed. He focused on others. Our sacrificial serving others models the ministry of Jesus. May we serve so others will see Jesus.

Serving Releases the Spirit.
When we are willing to sacrifice in some way, focus our attention on others rather than ourselves, and truly desire to reveal the Savior, the Spirit of God is released to show us great and mighty things. How many times have we learned we are not in control, but He is? He will orchestrate things, moments, situations, conversations and more to show us more of Him. And we simply stand in awe.

As I watch the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, they model the ministry of Jesus. They so often sacrifice their time, resources, abilities, vacations, and more because they love to serve. The reason they love to serve, is they have experienced the blessing of serving.

They realize when the focus is no longer on self and now focused on the Savior, the power of the Holy Spirit is released to show us amazing things. Life changing moments. Eternal differences.

Learn how you too can become a Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteer at www.kybaptist.org/dr.

Thank you, Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers

Every Christian is called to be on mission for the sake of the Gospel. His call may vary from person to person; however, we are all called and commissioned to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. Being a Christian is not just about who we are, (or Who’s we are), but also what we are to be. We are to be just like Jesus Christ.

The Bible challenges us, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [f]your works, and I will show you my faith by [g]my works. James 2:14-18

The ministry of disaster relief models the ministry of Jesus. Jesus would see a physical need and seek to meet their need so He could show them their greater need: their spiritual need.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are some of the most dedicated, selfless, and faithful servants I have ever seen. Just like Jesus who was moved with compassion to those in need, Kentucky Baptist disaster relief volunteers are moved with compassion to those affected by disasters and are ready to respond.

I am often reminded of Stan. Stan’s family attended church, but he was very independent and did not need Jesus. He believed church could make you a better person, so he sent the family, but he did not need anyone to help him. Following a severe ice storm, Stan was caring for his wife who was battling cancer and their four grandchildren they had adopted. Their power had been out for over a week, and he was getting tired. I made several offers for them to come to the church and let us help. He would always tell me “No, we take care of ourselves.”

A few days later, Stan finally reached a breaking point and brought his family to the church for warmth and rest. Several of those gold shirt volunteers began to love on them and get them whatever they needed. They served them selflessly. Stan watched with amazement how these volunteers just did whatever needed done with eagerness and a smile. He had never witnessed anything like this before.

A few days of watching this, Stan said he needed to talk to someone, “Right now!” One of the chaplains took him aside and asked what he needed. Stan replied, “I have never in my life witnessed such love as I have with all of these gold shirts. They have something I do not have, and I want what they have.” The chaplain shared with Stan the Gospel message, and Stan prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His life was dramatically changed!

I have watched so many of our volunteers in those gold shirts work hard, serve faithfully, and love generously without ever expecting anything in return. They model true servanthood.

I see them work hard all day and drag in exhausted in the evening. The feeding crew who had also been working hard all-day preparing meals, serves these volunteers. It’s not long, everyone is laughing, celebrating what God did that day, sing songs of praise, and sleep hard only to get up with eagerness to serve another day.

They understand God had set up these diving appointments and they cannot wait to see what will happen next. God has a plan. It may be a meeting at a gas station, at restaurant, in Wal-Mart or in someone’s back yard. But they are there. Ready to serve.

To the world it seems like foolishness. But to those who have experienced it, it is life changing; it is amazing; and it is incredible.

They love to work together, serve together, and pray together. They are eager to learn, to train, and to train others. They are truly the hands and feet of Jesus, ready to go across town, across the state, across the nation, or even around the world. Just like Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me.” (Isa. 6:8).

Many of them use their own equipment or vehicle; take their own vacation time to serve to help others; take time away from family or their own needs at home to serve others. It is in their heart.

So, next time you see someone in the gold shirt, let them know how much you appreciate them .

Everyone can pray. Pray for this ministry and these volunteers as they serve.

Most can give. Your generous gifts help provide the resources needed to care for others in times of disaster. Your giving allows us to go; to provide the chainsaws, the kitchens, the trailers, the tarps, supplies, training, and so much more. And as you give through the Cooperative Program, you support this wonderful ministry.

Some can go. Will you pray about and consider becoming a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer? It will change your life.

This ministry not only models the ministry of Jesus Christ, but it demonstrates the cooperative spirit of the Christian. We are a family.

THANK YOU!



Sharing the Gospel in Hostile Times

Syrian refugee girls march at a United Nations refugee camp in Jordan.

Oftentimes, the mission of God does not seem to match our conveniently constructed models. God calls us to love all people, which means taking the gospel to hard places, among hard people, and during difficult times. In Acts 8:26-40, we catch a glimpse of how God brings about what He has promised is going to happen in Revelation 5:9-10. God orchestrated circumstances in such a way that Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch met on a desert road to bring about His will, and He continues to do so today for the same purposes. However, we see some things about this mission that are often missed, or even rejected, in the West. Philip understood that God would never leave him or forsake him, so he never stopped sharing the gospel no matter where God sent him. In this passage, we see four realities regarding the mission of God that can empower us to share the gospel in hostile times.

  • The mission of God is inconvenient
    Think about the inconvenience of the Lord’s assignment for Phillip. Phillip had just been scattered from Jerusalem and gone to Samaria where “revival” broke out. Then, God ask him to leave and go south to Gaza. Not very convenient to go to a place that is known for robbers, in the middle of the desert in order to talk to a wealthy, Ethiopian eunuch. For someone limited on time, surely there were better assignments. In the West, our culture is built on convenience, constantly attempting to make life more comfortable. While some conveniences may have their place, the mission of God is never convenient, at least not the way our culture thinks about convenience. Church, we will never have mission without sacrifice.
  • The mission of God appears inefficient
    Phillip was praying, and God directed him to go to a desert place. Once there, the Spirit directed him to run alongside of a chariot of foreigners. The eunuch’s journey to Jerusalem was conceivably five months long, one way. Once there, he was doubly denied entrance into the assembly at the temple for being a Gentile and a eunuch. While efficiency has its place, the mission of God is hardly efficient, and the details surrounding Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch underscore this point. In the West, as one of the holdovers from the Industrial Revolution, our culture loves efficiency. We value seeking the greatest output for the least input. Church, we must obey God’s call, share Christ without fear and trust the Lord with the results.
  • The mission of God is ingenious
    God combats the core human instinct to “go our own way,” even our feeble attempts to earn His favor by our convenient, efficient means. The gospel is a gift, and the only way to be made right in God’s eyes is to admit you need salvation and to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing is more convenient than that! But the genius of God is that to grow in this grace is to receive His mission,  “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Grace writes a blank check for the obedience of the recipient. Church, we must spend time in prayer, hear from God and obey him at all costs.
  • The mission of God is indisputable
    God has given us the end of the story. Either it is true, or it is not. And if this story is the true story of what He is doing in the world, then the reason His mission seems inconvenient and difficult to many is perhaps because we are living for a different story. Jesus said, “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have command you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Church, the Great Commission is not an option clause, it is a command from our living Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Missions Mobilization team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, please contact John Barnett at [email protected] or text 502-654-3385.

Reflections and Updates on the Ukrainian Crisis

I watch as an older man stands in front of his bombed-out house. All of his memories, the small earthly things that give us comfort, his entire history is scattered. There is a confused, bewildered look on his face as he realizes that the accomplishment of his labor is no more.

I see a woman who does not want to leave the danger zone because she just witnessed the death of her family by artillery fire. To her, she is sitting at their grave.

I see people lining up at bordering countries with whatever they can carry and waiting in 15–16-hour lines, exposed to the elements and waiting to be processed. Once they cross the border, their status changes to “refugee,” but regardless of the label, it is the same person fighting disbelief, exhaustion, and desperation as they search for ways to fend for their families.

You see, it does not matter which country is experiencing conflict: Uganda, Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Libya, Georgia, Armenia and now Ukraine, war forces people to become displaced.

With the tragic scenario currently unfolding in Ukraine, Send Relief has responded quickly, propelled by God’s love. They are providing food, hygiene items, shelter, safety blankets and transportation to the neighboring countries that people are fleeing to, such as Hungary and Poland, while continuing projects are providing relief to people still trapped in Ukraine itself.

As they monitor the situation, it has become clear that the bulk of the Ukrainian refugee population are currently seeking shelter in countries with similar cultures and languages, as well as those with a large diaspora presence of Ukrainians. Currently, Poland will be the base of operations moving forward, but as is the case many times, the majority of people in dire need are not the refugees outside the country but the displaced people trapped inside the country, with no means of travel and no family or friends to go to.

Present news reports state that over 2.5 million refugees have made it to Poland, with Romania receiving the second highest number at 700,000. All of the countries receiving people need more assistance, because coping with an influx of this number of refugees is difficult for any nation.

Send Relief has established multiple rest and registration facilities at the key entry points, where they can offer refugees relief packages with sandwiches, water, and more necessities, along with working with local authorities to provide a play tent for children to wait in while their parents are processed. As of today, Send Relief is partnering with local churches and national partners in fourteen countries.

Currently, the majority of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children, as most 18–60-year-old men must remain in the country to fight unless they have medical exemptions.

Establishing these rest and registration points will help Send Relief confirm where they will be resettling in Poland and other countries, who they will stay with and if we can arrange follow-up visits to assess and strengthen the financial capacity of host families.

In all of this, we must remember that God is in control. His kingdom expands in a time of turmoil. As the body of Christ unites, believers are emboldened and strengthened in their walks with God.

As Kentucky Baptist, you can join in solidarity with the people of Ukraine by praying, giving and going! Go to https://www.kybaptist.org/ukraine/ today and get involved!

The Missions Mobilization team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, please contact John Barnett at [email protected] or text 502-654-3385. *field info from Abraham Shepherd, Send Relief (Area Director for Europe, Middle East, and North Africa.

Ukraine Crisis: Overview, Impact and Opportunity!

Send Relief is bringing help and hope to displaced families in Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Overview

After 8 years of ongoing conflict, Russia has launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine, rolling in tanks and troops into their neighbors to the West.

This conflict could cause nearly 5 million people to be displaced and lead to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis among the Ukrainian people. The greatest needs for displaced families are food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation and hygiene needs.

Send Relief, a cooperative ministry between the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, is working with local Baptist partners in Ukraine to respond to the growing crisis by ministering to displaced families. Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to pray and give to support this response!

Your gifts to Send Relief are already providing emergency food supplies, shelter and clothing to displaced families. As the conflict escalates, Send Relief partners are preparing to provide more food relief, continue meeting shelter needs and offer transportation to those impacted by this crisis.

Impact and Opportunity

Give today to bring help and healing to the hurting! Link to give: sendrelief.org

This is a scene from a Ukrainian church we have partnered with to care for displaced families. They are providing food, a warm place to sleep and fellowship to 60+ displaced this weekend.

Your gifts for Ukraine are helping the Church be the Church! Also, your prayers are critical! Remember Church, there is extraordinary power in prayer. Kentucky Baptist, the Mission Mobilization Team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Contact John Barnett, KBC Missions Strategist and Send Relief Ambassador for Care for Refugees, if you have questions or concerns. We are here to help! Email John: [email protected] or text: 502-654-3385.

Link to download your Ukrainian Prayer Guide: https://www.sendrelief.org/resource/ukraine-prayer-guide/

Church: Pray, Give, Get involved today!

*All Pics and article information have been shared with permission from Send Relief (sendrelief.org)

Reaching Others Through Evangelism and Missions

I remember several years ago overhearing two pastors discuss evangelism vs. missions and which should be the focus of the church. One pastor thought all the focus had to be on evangelism. After all, are we not about the Great Commission and sharing the Gospel? The other pastor argued it had to be about missions. After all, didn’t Paul and others take many missionary journeys? Paul and his companions were always on mission.

I am not sure how each pastor defined these terms in their own mind, but evangelism is spreading the Gospel by preaching or personal witness. Missions involves the calling to go out and spread the Word of one’s faith. Those terms seem very similar to me, yet maybe different in context.

Organizationally we may separate them as evangelism does involve equipping and training, which is a biblical mandate (Eph. 4:12). Missions involves going out and being involved; this too is a biblical mandate (Matt. 28:19-20).

In the church I grew up in, it seemed when you said the word “evangelism,” the picture which came to mind was going door to door creating anxiety in many minds. Whereas the word “missions,” a picture which came to mind was sending a check to the Cooperative Program, Annie Armstrong Easter offering, Lottie Moon Christmas offering, and state mission offering. Maybe a local mission project from time to time might be included.

In my mind, you cannot separate evangelism and missions. They go together. If we refer to the definition of the two terms, if you are evangelizing, you are on mission. If you are going on mission, what is the point unless you see the opportunity to preach or share your personal testimony? I don’t know about you, but I don’t need something else to do for the sake of doing it. But ministry the work of motivates us to be on mission and evangelize. Because of our going and doing, we have the opportunity of serving and sharing.

That is why I love the disaster relief ministry. I see how it models the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was on mission and Jesus evangelized. As you read and study His ministry, very often you see how He met the physical needs of someone, which would then open the opportunity for Him to share their greatest need, their spiritual need.

Often people will ask me when we are on a disaster response helping clean up after a storm, “How much does this cost?” I often will answer with, “It has already been paid for.” This confuses them for a moment, but that answer opens the door to share the Gospel, as Jesus paid it all.

I remember the story in the Bible when Jesus “had to go to Samaria.” (John 4:4). He had a calling to go there (missions), and an opportunity to share the Gospel (evangelism). Jesus called Zacchaeus down from the tree and went to his house. Jesus went to his house (missions) and shared the Gospel (evangelism). Because of His mission, He changed lives with the Good News.

If we are to be followers and ambassadors of the Lord, then we should do as He did. And obey as He did. We are to “go” as we are sent; “do” as we are given opportunity; “be” what He has made us; and share the reason of our hope: Jesus Christ.

Going and sharing. Sharing and going. Evangelism and missions. They go together. And as we go, we will reach the world for Christ.

Spiritual Growth Leads to Mission Service

There’s no shortage of places to serve on mission with the Lord.  Opportunities abound, but only a very small number are willing to respond. We’ve heard the request for mission trip participants or the plea for volunteers to help meet a need in the community, but how did we respond?   Many churches lack people who are willing to get involved in taking the gospel across the street, much less, around the world.  The mission fields locally and globally are in desperate need of obedient Christ followers willing to say, “here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). I’m not sure what more can be done by churches or missions organizations to entice people to respond affirmatively to mission service.

I don’t think the answer to more people serving is greater promotion, financial assistance or even a powerful personal challenge. While those things may be helpful, what is needed are spiritually mature believers who will say yes to live out their faith (James 2:14-26).  We need God’s power to fall upon our churches because His presence in our lives will bring repentance, followed by a life of service. When God is at work among His people, there is never a shortage of volunteers or resources for His work!  When Christ followers are walking with Him, witnessing to neighbors and taking the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) will be a natural outcome. 

God didn’t save us to satisfyingly sit.  He saved us to serve Him through a life on mission. He expects us to minister to the least of these (Matthew 25:40) and take the gospel to the lost. But will I be obedient in going if it requires making personal sacrifices in-order to do so? Living a life on mission involves exchanging my selfish desires for whatever God wants. The author is unknown but I’ve heard it said that “spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise, but by how straight you walk in obedience”.

If we are growing in our faith there will be an awareness within us of the lostness around us.  Very simply, God draws us to Him and sends us out (John 20:21).   Spiritual growth in the life of a Christian will be lived out through missions involvement. So, if I’m not living as “sent”, perhaps I’m not as spiritually mature as I should be because growing is evidenced by going. 

I pray that what God is doing in my life inwardly will be seen outwardly through mission activity that results in new believers being baptized and discipled.