The idea of Christ followers being involved in missions is supported throughout scripture. Two very familiar passages are Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. Both record the words of Christ, telling His followers to go and make disciples of all people by being His witness in all places.
The church is not supposed to only study or learn about missions. The Bible is clear about our responsibility and uses action words like “send”, “go” and “make” disciples to emphasize the church’s role. A church that is sending, going and making will experience a high level of missions participation by its members. Participation in missions is critical to healthy church development, individual spiritual growth and advancement of the gospel. How exciting it is to learn of churches that are missions active, rather than simply missions minded.
Below is a list of Kentucky’s top ten churches, in terms of missions participation. Missions participation refers to mission trips, church planting efforts, local ministry projects and disaster relief responses. Each of the churches has earned recognition because they had a greater percentage of their worship attendance participating in missions this year than they did the previous.
- Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, Lewisport, Jerry Dalton, pastor.
- Charleston First Baptist Church, Dawson Springs, Patrick Yates, pastor.
- East Hickman Baptist Church, Lexington, Kevin Davidson, pastor
- Oakland Avenue Baptist Church, Catlettsburg, Mike Blankenship, pastor.
- Tiny Town Baptist Church, Guthrie, James “Buck” Tidwell, pastor.
- Williamstown Baptist Church, Williamstown, Terry Leap, pastor.
- Little Flock Baptist Church, Shepherdsville, Rodney Alexander, pastor.
- Salem Baptist Church, Irvine, Jerry Smith, pastor.
- Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, Nancy, Patrick Patterson, pastor.
- Gamaliel Baptist Church, Gamaliel, Danny Pace, pastor.
Pastor “Buck” Tidwell shared that Tiny Town Baptist Church experienced an increase in missions participation because of their initial involvement in Operation Inasmuch a year ago. Not only did that single day of community engagement through missions projects involve a large percentage of their Sunday morning attendance, but a weekly backpack ministry to needy children was birthed as a result. Now, every week members are participating in missions because they were first encouraged to participate in a one-day mission event.
I don’t know how or why all of the churches saw increased missions participation, but I do know that the more seeds that are sown, the greater the Kingdom harvest. Pastors should lead their people to participate in missions because we’re commanded to do so and we have a gospel to proclaim. However, there are benefits to churches that are sending, going and making disciples through missions participation.
Benefits to the missions participating church include:
- Improves health and vitality.
- Generates passionate and exciting worship.
- Stimulates revitalization and growth.
- Develops disciples.
- Puts emphasis on people, not buildings or budgets.
- Turns focus outward, rather than inward.
- A greater Kingdom harvest because more seeds are sown.
My prayer is that more churches will experience an increase in the number of people participating in missions, but it won’t happen accidentally. It demands an intentional effort by the pastor and church leadership. What will you do in your church to encourage greater missions participation that calls people to send, go and make?