Church Planting Axiom I heard years ago: “Don’t just start a church for your community. Start a church for the whole world.” That resonated with me for several reasons:
- God’s Great Commission vision for his disciples was global. Matthew 28:19-20.
- You need the whole world to properly make a disciple. True disciples will be moved to go & give of themselves. You’ll need to give them opportunities.
- The whole world needs disciples that have a vision for going & giving. A growing family of disciples was Jesus’ Plan A for reaching the world.
- Going & even dreaming of going on mission, stretches our faith & helps us deal with our own selfishness & complacency. Color of the carpet, etc. pales in comparison to the needs of the world.
- Spiritual Maturity is impacted exponentially through going, & it seems that’s even more true when you can cross cultures.
- When you engage the world, it affects how we view our own communities. Every mission trip I’ve ever gone on, the conversation on the way back always turned to, “We could do this at home.”
How can I make sure my church is FOR the Whole World:
- Give. Make sure that your budget reflects a global vision. For our church, that means giving to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention & supporting a few missionaries individually as a church & then as a family also. Amount doesn’t matter, just begin to make this a priority from the beginning.
- Tell stories. Video resources abound about missions & global needs. Develop space in your worship service & websites to tell the stories, show the images, celebrate the successes of missionaries, current & of old. I’ve enjoyed having the Heroes For Young Readers series around the house as a parent. Great stories of missionaries & missions.
- Connect with missionaries. Many ways to serve them on site. But praying for missionaries helps more than we’ll know on this side of eternity.
- Ask God to lead your church to a place in the world to pray for & connect with.
What are you doing to make sure your church is a church for the whole world?
In the process of a self-assessment, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hammond faced the fact that a sizable population of African Americans near their church was unreached & that they had been unable to reach them for years. That’s when the pastor, Kent Newell, called Lonnie Tucker, Pastor of predominantly African-American Stillwater Baptist Church in Ponchatoula. Together they saw that what was needed was a new congregation. Stillwater sent Elltore & Tomesha Austin to began ministering in the area & Ebenezer opened its doors for a Tuesday evening Bible Study. Six months later, 65+ gather for Worship & Bible Study & lives are being changed by the Gospel.
Grateful for this partnership that blossomed out of the needs of the community & desire for unreached people to have a gospel witness. One congregation SENT qualified leaders for the work. Another congregation WELCOMED a new congregation onto its campus. More Great Commission, Church Planting Partnerships like these needed! Grateful for Stillwater & Ebenezer!
Lottie Moon served as a Missionary to China in the late 1800’s. The Southern Baptist Convention missions offering that was named after her has raised over $2.8 billion since it began. She could have been easily forgotten, because after a long & difficult missionary career, she died on a ship near Japan, without the money to even get herself back home to the states. But she lives on as an example of courage & gospel fervency. Here’s a few great quotes:
- “I do not believe that any trouble comes upon us unless it is needed, and it seems to me that we ought to be just as thankful for sorrow as for joys.”
- “The harvest is very great, the laborers, oh! so few. Why does the Southern Baptist church lag behind in this great work? …a young man should ask himself not if it is his duty to go to the heathen, but if he may dare stay at home. The command is so plain: ‘Go.'”
- “The needs of these people press upon my soul, and I cannot be silent. It is grievous to think of these human souls going down to death without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus.”
- “It fills one with sorrow to see these people so earnest in their worship of false gods… Then to remember the wealth hoarded in Christian coffers! … Should we not press it home upon our consciences that the sole object of our conversion was not the salvation of our own souls, but that we might become co-workers with our Lord and Master in conversion of the world?
- “I have a firm conviction that I am immortal ’til my work is done.”
Found written in the fly leaf of her Bible after her death:
- “O, that I could consecrate myself, soul and body, to his service forever; O, that I could give myself up to him, so as never more to attempt to be my own or to have any will or affection improper for those conformed to him.”
For more info on the life of Lottie Moon, pick up Danny Akin’s short book 10 Who Changed the World.
Love what one Northshore church is doing to get their small groups On Mission For Others. FBC Mandeville is having each of their Life Groups choose a “NEAR Mission Project” to engage in together. They’ve started a blog to communicate local opportunities for mission. Check it out: http://fbcmandeville.blogspot.com/.
Imagine the possibilities for your Small Groups or Sunday School classes…