Short-term Missions as a Help to the Mission

Missions is about making disciples of all nations, and often involves the crossing of cultures, languages, and geographical boundaries to accomplish that task. Disciples are made in the context of the local church over time.  Missionaries invest their lives in places void of the gospel in order that sinners will come to faith in Jesus and grow in that faith through the ministry of the local church.  There is no shortcut to disciple-making.  So, if there is no shortcut, how can short-term missions be part of this overall mission of disciple-making of all nations?  In other words, how can anything short-term contribute to anything that we know is a long-term process?

No doubt that short-term missions can be a hinderance to the mission when churches go with their own agendas.  However, I am convinced that done rightly, short-term missions can be of help to the missionary and the work of the gospel. Let me offer some suggestions to help churches assist missionaries through short-term missions. 

  • Local churches partnering with missionaries long-term.  Relationships take time and churches that will invest in relationships with missionaries over many years will often find that the work of the gospel is strengthened.  I would suggest an initial commitment of 3-5 years for a mission partnership.  This gospel relationship can include elements such as intentional prayer, financial support, tangible encouragement, and, yes, short-term teams. 
  • Send multiple short-term teams throughout the year (when needed).  Most missionaries I know partnering with churches and short-term teams prefer smaller teams rather than larger teams.  Certainly, there are exceptions to this request, but larger teams are often more difficult logistically.  Instead of sending one team of 20 to a partnering missionary, a church can send two teams of 10 throughout the year.  Multiple teams allow the church the opportunity to deepen the touches and relationship with the missionaries and the people they are seeking to reach. 
  • Be intentionally gospel-centered. While this sounds obvious at first glance, we can often do good things but neglect (unintentionally) the most important thing—the gospel.  At the end of the day, our goal is to make disciples of Jesus.  There is so much we can say about what a disciple of Jesus is, but we can not say less than it being one who turns from their sins and trusts in Jesus as their sacrificed, risen, sinless Savior and Lord.  Churches must work carefully with their partnering missionary to share the good news of Jesus with intentionality.
  • Allow the missionary to determine the needs/strategy for making disciples among the people.  While local churches often mean well, we can often impose our own agendas and strategies for reaching a people that we frankly do not know much about.  Missionaries invest their lives learning a new culture, language, and way of life in order to effectively make disciples where Jesus is not known.  Churches will do well to trust those missionaries and assist them in the strategies that they believe will best accomplish that goal.   
  • Be a servant.  As churches partner with missionaries for gospel impact, the goal is to serve those missionaries and the people they are seeking to reach.  Taking on the posture of a servant will allow both the missionary and the church partner to work well together, as it demonstrates the church’s goal of coming to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45).

There is no guarantee that any mission gospel partnership will be free from relational challenges, but these five suggestions will go a long way to strengthening gospel partnerships meant for gospel impact.  Indeed, there is no short-cut to disciple-making or mission partnerships, but the benefit of gospel impact will affect not only the missionaries and partnering churches, but also those who do not yet to follow Jesus. 

Jesus: The Great Savior Who Forgives Great Sinners

Just who is Jesus? That’s really the question that the gospel writer Luke is seeking to answer as he writes his book. Luke chapter 1 tells us that he writes to a man named Theophilus.  We are not exactly sure who he is, but it seems that he is an important person, perhaps a government official of some kind (“most excellent Theophilus”- Lk 1:3).  Stories about Jesus are spreading.  Luke’s concern is to paint an accurate picture of Jesus for Theophilus—both what He did and who He is.    

The gospel of Luke reveals many things about Jesus.  Luke 6, for example, records for us the greatest sermon ever preached; we often refer to it as the Sermon on the Mount.  But Jesus is more than a great preacher.  Luke continues painting this accurate picture of Jesus in chapter 7 with 5 different scenes or encounters. 

In chapter 7, Jesus travels to Capernaum, northern Israel, where he encounters several people.  In summary, Luke shows us that Jesus is the one in whom we have faith (v 1-10); he is the one who raises the dead (v 11-17); he is the one who heals disease, afflictions and cast out demons (v 18-23); and he is the one who is a friend of sinners (v 19-35).  But there’s more.

The last scene of chapter 7 involves verses 36-50.  Yes, Jesus is the one to whom we have faith in.  Yes, Jesus is the one who raises the dead and heals all kinds of diseases.  He is even a friend of sinners.  But this last scene described by Luke gives us understanding as to why He is more than a great preacher, why our faith is in Him, and why it matters that He heals diseases and is a friend of sinners.

Jesus is invited to a party at the house of Simon the Pharisee.  During the evening, a woman shows up whom Luke describes as a “sinner” (v 37).  She stands over Jesus’s feet wetting them with her tears and wiping them with her hair. She then kisses his feet and anoints them with oil.  Simon is appealed by this action from the woman and concludes in his own mind that Jesus certainly is not a prophet, or he would know what sort of woman she is.

Jesus, knowing Simon’s thoughts, shares a story of a moneylender forgiving the debt of two debtors (v 40-42).  When the two debtors could not repay the moneylender, he forgave the debt of both, Jesus explains.  He then asks Simon, “Who will love the moneylender more” (v 42)? 

The answer is obvious from the story Jesus shares.  The debtors neither could earn nor deserved the cancellation of their debt.  Jesus wants Simon to know that he is referring to the woman, the sinner.  Her debt was great, but Jesus forgave her (v 47).  And herein lies the story of the gospel.  Jesus is the great Savior who forgives great sinners. Our debt of sin is immeasurable.  We can neither earn nor deserve pardon.  Yet, in Jesus’s infinite grace, He forgives all who come to him broken (perhaps even at times weeping) over our own sins.  While our sins are great, His grace is greater. 

John Newton knew this all too well.  He was from London in the United Kingdom and lived in the 1700s. He was raised by a Christian mother but later rejected his mom’s teachings about Jesus.  As a young boy he left home, became a sailor involved in the slave trade of Africans, and later was converted to faith in Christ through a series of events revolving around sailing a ship that nearly sunk while working the slave trade.  As a result, he fought to end slavery.  He was a self-described wretch of a man prior to coming to Christ in faith. As you know, he would later write:

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see…”

He died at 82 years old, and it is told that many friends would visit him prior to his death as his health faded.  He is known as saying, “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”  

Praise God that Jesus is the great Savior who forgives great sinners!

Looking for Mission Partnerships in North America?

As a church leader you desire to lead your church to obey the Great Commission, but maybe you are not sure where to go?  If you are looking for mission partnerships, look no further.  The Mission Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention is here to help your church reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.  To achieve this goal, we have developed partnerships in Kentucky, North America, and the world for gospel impact.

It is one thing for us simply to tell you about an area in need of gospel partnerships. But it is altogether different for us to help you experience that area and envision how your church might partner there for the gospel.  Thus, we offer vision trips in order that KBC churches and associations might meet missionaries/church planters, experience the culture, hear the vision of a particular area in need of the gospel, and prayerfully consider how they might come alongside of the work being done in unreached places.

Currently, we have three North American partnerships that are great opportunities for KBC churches and associations to engage lost areas with the gospel.

Nestled along the Ohio River, Cincinnati is poised, as some experts believe, to see a population boom in the coming years.  However, only 13.7 percent of metro Cincinnati’s 2 million residents are currently affiliated with an evangelical church.  Cincinnati vision trip is August 28-29, 2023.  You can apply now for this vision trip at www.kybaptist.org/cincinnati-vision-tour/.   

Salt Lake City is a city most often recognized for Mormonism.  However, the city has become a major metro area and needs vibrant gospel churches to impact a population with only 2.2 percent evangelical presence.  Salt Lake City vision trip is November 8-10, 2023.  You can apply now for this vision trip at www.kybaptist.org/salt-lake-city-vision-tour/.   

Impact New York City and you impact the world.  As a financial and cultural hub in our country, New York City is one of the most influential places in North America and the world.  With a metro population over 22 million, only 4 percent of New Yorkers identify themselves as evangelical.  New York City vision trip is May 13-15, 2024.  Though the sign-ups are not live for 2024 yet, you can learn more about NYC at www.kybaptist.org/new-york-vision-tour/.  

You can also get involved in a new NYC project called We Inspire NYC, as church planters engage four schools in NYC.  Learn how your church can play a vital role in impacting the teachers and administrators of these schools at www.kybaptist.org/inspirenyc.

KBC churches and associations are needed to impact these areas with gospel faithfulness and partnerships.  If you have questions or we can serve your church as you prayerfully consider gospel partnerships, email us at [email protected].

First Responders with Gospel Urgency

A tsunami of debris engulfed the city blocks surrounding the World Trade Center.  Just prior to this wave of debris, smoke rose in the New York City skyline as both towers were struck by hijacked commercial airliners on September 11, 2001.  Thousands attempted to escape the chaos of the enflamed buildings and surrounding area.  While hordes of people were panicking as they ran away from the direction of the twin towers, heroically others ran to the site as the towers eventually collapsed in a massive ruble.

People were right to run away from the danger, but who would run to it and why?  First responders, that’s who.  Thank God for first responders who train and prepare for times such as September 11.  Instead of running away from danger and distress, first responders run to it.    

The Great Commission is about followers of Jesus running to the needs of the world.  We lay down our lives (both figuratively and sometimes literally) for the hordes of people running to escape the chaos of life.  I was recently reminded of this gospel call when a pastor in a large Midwest city told our vision trip team of a shooting in his neighborhood.  Instead of avoiding the location where the incident occurred, his church went and set up on the corner of the street to engage with family members and neighbors.  They were there to proclaim that hope is found in Jesus alone.  This church functioned like first responders.

This same church, on a weekly basis, has “night church” in a section of town that is known as a hot spot for trouble late at night.  They gather near the street and play Christian music, share testimonies of God’s transforming power, and talk with neighbors about the good news of Jesus.   The church is running to the needs in their community.  They are, in fact, first responders bringing hope in the name of Jesus.

Churches across our nation and state can learn much from this Midwest large city new church.  Here are some takeaways that will help us all in our Great Commission work:

  1. Be a church that runs to the needs in your community with gospel hope.
  2. To run to the needs, we need to know our communities. 
  3. To know our communities, we must immerse our lives in the community.
  4. Immersing our lives in our communities requires a continual presence in the community.

The chaos of sin is sweeping across the communities of our state and nation like a tsunami.  It would be easy for the church to simply quarantine itself from the debris and mess.  However, this is not the Jesus way.  He calls us to run to the need, not away from the need.  How will your church respond to the chaos of sin in your community?  Will you be a first responder with gospel urgency?   

No Superheroes Needed

    As a kid I waffled back and forth between wanting to be Superman or Spiderman.  Often my childhood home was bombarded by notorious villains that could only be defeated by either my man-of-steel strength or my spider-like agility and web-slinging ability.  After all, who does not want to be strong like steel, fast like lightning, and fly like a fighter jet?  Or who would not want to scale the tallest buildings using your hands and feet and sling webs across the sky?  Let’s face it, every little kid desires to have extraordinary powers and do remarkable feats.  For that matter, so does every adult.  But most of us feel as if that’s just out of our range.    

    Perhaps this mindset is why we often view the Christian life as the haves and have-nots—those who are extraordinary and those who are, well . . . not.  Most Christians see themselves with the have-nots—those who do not have superhero Christian abilities.  But what if I were to say that living the Christian life is not about having extraordinary superhero abilities, but simply living faithful to the Lord and his mission?

    Christians are not called to be superheroes, but they are called to be faithful disciple-makers. Before Jesus’s death, he shares with his disciples the parable of the talents which is a story not about how much you have, but about what you do with what you have (Matt 25:14-30).  God’s concern for each believer is that they are faithful to live God’s purpose with the one life they have been given.  The last words Jesus delivers to his disciples before he ascends to heaven is his marching orders for every believer.  Make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:16-20).  The rest of the New Testament reveals how Jesus’s disciples faithfully live out this command.

    While not every Christian will carry out this directive in the same way, every Christian is given this same task—make disciples.  Each believer and each local church have a role in Jesus’s overall mission of making disciples of all nations, and no superheroes are needed.  Being sent by Jesus on mission for him means that each believer through their local church lives to make Jesus known locally and globally.  How this looks from person to person and church to church will vary, but the mission is the same.  

    Jesus is not looking for extraordinary people for his mission.  Just faithful people.  To help Kentucky Baptists faithfully make disciples of Jesus a new 6-week study entitled Great Commission Pipeline is designed for small groups within the church. The aim of this study is to explore and discover how each church member has a unique role to play in fulfilling the Great Commission.  The great news is Jesus does not look for superheroes for his mission. He calls people like you and me—ordinary people seeking to live faithful lives by making disciples of Jesus.  For more information about the Great Commission Pipeline study, visit www.kybaptist.org/gcp.   

    We Can Never Trust God Too Much

    While the days may be uncertain for us, they are not uncertain for God.  As the Psalmist says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1).  Because God is our very present help in trouble, “we will not fear, though the earth should change” or the shock of our present circumstances (Ps 46:2).  As always, but particularly these days, believers are called to demonstrate that their trust is in an all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign God.  Whether the earth changes or the unexpectant engulfs us, God is with us as the Psalmist promises. 

    We can trust God with our very lives even when all around us is apparent chaos.  The Psalmist tells us that even if the “waters roar and foam” and if the “mountains quake,” God is with us (Ps 46:3).  As the hymn writer so eloquently reminds us, “when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”  

    Hudson Taylor knew of God’s great presence with us in times of trouble.  Taylor, a British missionary to China in the late 1800s, served there for 51 years.  He is the founder of the China Inland Mission.  As a young twenty-one-year-old, he first went to China with the desire to reach the nation with the gospel.  When others were saying it can’t be done, Hudson said it can and will be done by God’s grace.

    After spending years toiling on the mission field, he realized that he needed to recruit others to join him in this task of the evangelization of China.  He went back to his homeland of England to find more laborers.  While there he became troubled knowing that the dangers in China were many.  He had almost concluded to not recruit help for fear of sending missionaries to China who might be killed.  However, the Lord pressed upon his heart that it is better to go to China and die as a Christian than for millions of Chinese to die without hearing of Christ.

    So, Hudson recruited several to join him in China. Years later when he was older and feebler, he traveled back to England and received word of his greatest fear—many missionaries were being killed for the gospel.  His only option was to trust his life and theirs in the hands of God.  He concluded that whether as a young twenty-one-year-old just heading out to China or as a seventy-year-old nearing the end of his life, it is possible to trust God too little, but never possible to trust Him too much (Danny Akin, 10 Who Changed the World).

    God is more than enough in your time of trouble.  Indeed, He is a very present help in your trouble.  You can trust Him too little, but you can never trust him too much.  In these uncertain days, let’s trust in our certain God and make sure that we point people to the only secure hope in times of trouble—Jesus.   

    Mission Partnerships

    In 1925, Southern Baptists began the Cooperative Program to unite our resources for the furthering of the gospel.  Southern Baptist churches give a portion of their offerings to the Cooperative Program to fund both state and national convention work.  Over the years, thousands of missionaries have been deployed all around the world for gospel advancement; and countless churches have been strengthened as well as planted in areas in need of the gospel.

    IMB photo

    We are a cooperating denomination.  We work together for the advancement of Jesus’ fame.  This cooperation is meant for not only our giving, but also our serving.  We do not simply give so that missions will be done for us.  We give to partner more strategically and effectively that missions might be done together.  Regardless of the size of the church or location of the church, each church that gives through the Cooperative Program can truly say that they help to support over 8,000 missionaries around the world.

    Yet, we do not give simply to support missions; we give to strengthen our partnership in missions.  We can do more together than we can alone.  Hence, we give our dollars, but we also want to give our lives.  The Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention desires to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.  To this aim, we want to be a funnel for churches to partner in certain parts of Kentucky, North America, and the World. 

    We create relationships with missionaries in order to connect our churches to strategic opportunities for gospel partnerships.  The partnership is ultimately with the local church, not the KBC.  By partnership, the KBC desires simply to connect and allow each local church to develop partnerships for the Great Commission.  While the KBC cannot connect churches everywhere, we are connecting churches to strategic places in North America and the nations.

    Here are our current areas of emphases for KBC churches, both in North American and Internationally:

    In partnership with NAMB, we are connecting churches to three SEND cities:

    • Cincinnati, OH: 1,639,443 people live in the metro Cincinnati area.  There is one SBC church for every 10,857 metro Cincinnati residents. 
    • Salt Lake City, UT: 2,743,111 people live in the Salt Lake City metro area.  There is one SBC church for every 43,942 metro Salt Lake City residents.
    • New York City, NY: 22,000,000 people live in the NYC metro area.  Only 4% identify themselves as evangelical. 

    In partnership with IMB, we are connecting churches to several international areas:

    • São Paulo, Brazil: São Paulo is one of the largest metro areas in the world with a population of over 20 million people.  It is estimated that between 18 and 19 million people are lost.
    • Sub-Saharan Africa: With over 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the need for the gospel is great there.  From disaster relief to theological training to evangelism to church planting, the opportunities for partnerships are numerous.
    • Central Asia: Over 385 million people live in Central Asia and it is estimated that 98%-99% are lost without Christ.   

    The KBC is here to assist churches in any of these areas for gospel partnerships.  In fact, if your church is interested in other areas not mentioned in these emphases, we are more than willing to help you connect wherever the Lord may be leading you.  Contact me at [email protected] for further details.  I look forward to helping you reach the world for Christ.

    Enlisting a Short-term Mission Team

    Your church wants to partner well with missionaries and perhaps even knows with whom and where you will partner.  But how does a church go about enlisting people to go on short-term mission efforts?  Is it best to just open up the mission effort to any and all who want to go?  Are there some suggested practices that might aid a church in enlisting its members for short-term missions? 

    The following are suggestions for churches as they begin enlisting people to join in short-term mission efforts.

    1. Clearly communicate the mission to the church.  The members need to know why the church is engaging in this mission partnership and how a short-term mission effort will enhance that work. 
    2. Work closely with the pastor(s) in the process of recruiting and/or approving team members.  The pastoral leadership of the church often knows the members best and, as the shepherds of the flock, should speak into the selection of those who will represent the Lord and the church in short-term mission efforts. 
    3. Plan an informational meeting to discuss: location, purpose of mission, cost, expectations, and Q & A.  An intentional interest meeting will often give members additional info that they can pray through in determining if this mission effort is right for them at this particular time. 
    4. Schedule interviews and/or have an application process.  Talking through or providing an application that covers location, personal testimony, personal growth as a believer, reason for wanting to go, emphasis on being a team player, importance of flexibility, and the need for physical and emotional stability are all important matters to cover with interested team members.
    5. Inform person of decision.  There is strength in numbers. Prayer throughout this process is vital.  It is best that the approval of short-term mission team members not fall to the decision of one individual.  In working with the pastor leadership, a mission team/committee is helpful for many reasons, not least of which is to discern prayerfully the best team for this particular short-term mission effort.   
    6. How to say “wait.”  There will be times that it is not best for an individual to go on this particular mission.  We want every believer to be involved in Great Commission work.  Involvement will vary from person to person depending on gifts and experiences.  So, using the word “wait” is intentional, rather than “no.”  The reasons for waiting can be varied but learning to say “wait” is important. How do we best say “wait”?  Pray for God’s grace and wisdom.  Involve more than one person in the conversation.  Communicate why you are suggesting the person wait.  Offer steps of growth. Encourage their cultivation of passion for God.  Communicate with clarity, compassion, and grace.  Affirm the person in the Lord and close with prayer.

    Enlisting church members for short-term missions is an intentional responsibility.  Rather than simply extending a “y’all come and go” request, there are some intentional steps that can be taken to better ensure that those who are going should be going.  We enlist short-term mission team members because we want to partner well with missionaries. And we want to partner well for God’s glory and fame to spread most effectively through the strategy of our partner missionaries.   Learn more tips about short-term missions at International Team Leader Training March 3-4 or September 22-23. For more information, visit: www.kybaptist.org/itlt.

    Healthy Church Formation

    Do we need to plant more churches or strengthen existing churches today? In other words, what should be the focus of our churches: plant new churches or revitalize/strengthen current churches? Healthy church formation is not about choosing between these two as if they are opposing options.

    (A church meets in a small building in South Asia, IMB photo)

    We need both.  Healthy church formation comes through discipleship. Discipleship must be intentional, or it will not occur.  Followers of Jesus need to be taught scripture reading, doctrine, prayer, evangelism, church membership, fasting, missions, parenting, biblical view of work, ethics and so much more. In other words, each church must have a robust and intentional method of discipling their own people from the youngest to the oldest – from the cradle to the grave – with the word of God.

    Churches must ensure that disciples are being formed within their congregations. Paul reminds the church at Colossae that the goal of every church is to proclaim Jesus by “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete (mature) in Christ” (Col 1:28).  Similarly, Jesus instructed his first-century followers on that Galilean Mountain to “teach [all believers] to observe all that [he] commanded [us]” (Matt 28:20).  Ultimately, we are after the transformation of lives rather than simply the preservation of information.  Jesus and Paul are concerned with disciples living out the teaching of Scripture and not simply knowing the teaching of Scripture. 

    So, what might a transformed disciple look like?  The IMB speaks of 6 marks of a disciple (Foundations, IMB).  In other words, every church’s goal is to see every Jesus follower mature by the transformation of the word in these areas of their life:

    • transformed heart- being born again with a new heart
    • transformed mind- being renewed in our minds
    • transformed affections- being led with godly desires/affections
    • transformed will- being obedient in what we do
    • transformed relationships- being reconciled with others because of Jesus
    • transformed purpose- being engaged in God’s mission

    In essence, then, establishing healthy churches involves the holistic transformation of each disciple in every aspect of their life—heart, mind, affections, will, relationships, and purpose. 

    Further, disciples transformed by the gospel will contribute to overall healthy church formation.  But what does a healthy church look like?  Helpful in this conversation is the IMB’s 12 Characteristics of a Healthy Church (Foundations, IMB).

    1. Biblical evangelism
    2. Biblical discipleship
    3. Biblical membership
    4. Biblical leadership
    5. Biblical preaching and teaching
    6. Biblical ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper
    7. Biblical worship
    8. Biblical fellowship
    9. Biblical prayer
    10. Biblical accountability and discipline
    11. Biblical giving
    12. Biblical mission

    If establishing churches involves the ongoing growth of existing churches and not simply planting new churches, then our desire, as seen in these 12 characteristics, is for healthy church formation.  Aiming for church health, thus, involves these characteristics.

    What plans does your church have in place to ensure that all believers are taught not simply to know the Bible, but to live [observe] the Bible?  How is your church ensuring its ongoing healthy growth by intentionally focusing on these 12 characteristics?    

    The Work: Every Church on Mission

    “They had turned inward,” the pastor said with regret.  As I gathered with a group of pastors, AMSs, and church leaders from around Kentucky in Cincinnati recently to hear about ways their churches and associations can partner in the Queen City, one pastor in Cincinnati shared an all-too common story about his church.  When he first arrived at his church 15 years ago, the congregation had just completed a building project that increased the seating capacity to about 250 people.  However, when the pastor arrived at the church there were only about 30 people attending. 

    “What happened?” one of our Kentucky pastors asked with curiosity.  The pastor went on to explain, “They had turned inward.  In fact, I discovered as I got to know the community that the people who lived here did not even know that this was a church.”  As I have reflected on this conversation with the pastor, I wonder how this can even happen.  The short answer, as described by the pastor, is that churches turn inward. 

    In other words, we forget the work to which the Holy Spirit calls each church. What is that work?  To find that answer we turn our attention briefly to Acts 13.  Perhaps the second most influential church in the New Testament next to Jerusalem is Antioch, located about 300 miles north of Jerusalem near the Mediterranean Sea.  The church at Antioch was a mission-sending, mission-participating congregation.  The DNA of this first-century church flowed with making disciples of all nations.  From the outpost of Antioch, the Holy Spirit sent out Barnabas and Saul (Paul) on what we refer to as Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 13:1-3). 

    Notably, this church places a premium on worshipping and seeking the Lord (Acts 13:2), which is key for a church in avoiding the trap of an inward focus.  While the church of Antioch is filled with robust leaders—Barnabas, Simeon (Niger), Lucius, Manaen, and Saul, the Holy Spirit says, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).

    But what was “the work” to which the Holy Spirit had called them?  If Acts 1:8 is the theme of the book, then our answer lies within that passage.  In short, Jesus calls the apostles to make disciples of all nations in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.  This work of disciple making to which Jesus calls the apostles is extended to the church as we see the gospel spread from Jerusalem and beyond. In essence, disciple-making involves reaching the unreached and discipling the reached.

    The Missions Mobilization Team is excited to help each KBC church do the work to which the Holy Spirit has called them with a new Fall 2022 initiative called Every Church On Mission (ECOM).  This initiative seeks to help each KBC church identify their unique role in the Great Commission, equip members to live out their role in the Great Commission, send members to fulfill the Great Commission locally and globally, and care for those who are sent both locally and globally.  For each of these four elements there are assessment questions and recommended resources.  The goal of this initiative is to help churches focus on the work of making disciples locally and globally, while avoiding the trap of turning inward and forgetting the work to which we are called.  Learn more about ECOM at kybaptist.org/ecom. 

    The work of the church at Antioch is our work.  The work of all churches is to make disciples of all nations among whomever we can and wherever we are.  Some recent gospel “workers” serving in another country had to leave their place of work for another place of work.  In reflection about that move, they affirmed, “God called us for the work, not for a place or a people.  He called us for the work to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19).  Whatever changes we may experience in the world or in our life, and wherever we may find ourselves to be, may we do the work God has called us to do!”