More than Mission Minded, more than supportive of Missions, Jesus said to the early church leaders, “GO make disciples of all nation…” Mt.28:19. Most Pastors I know do encourage the church to pray and give towards missions. Putting our spiritual “boots on the ground” may be another matter. As we step out and take members of the church into “all nations”, we can see lives changed. The hearts of lost souls are made new and the lives of obedient church members become excited to see first-hand what God does when we go!
My life literally changed when I left the comfort of ministry at home for a two-week mission experience that changed my entire approach to sharing the gospel. In 1996 I was listening to the mission testimonies of several church members of FBC Newcastle who had just returned from doing mission work in Russia. A near audible voice that I knew was the Lord said, “It’s time for you to go too.” The next mission trip opportunity that came around was to Romania and Moldova. The fact that I have now returned to those countries nearly 10 time might give you a clue to the impact it has made on my life.
After taking that first step, I fell in love with sharing God’s message around the globe and at the same time I became more willing to share Christ here at home where opportunities are everywhere. I am constantly thinking about places I have never witnessed at and people who have never heard God’s story or how they can be saved. When God called me into my first pastorate, I earnestly pleaded with Him to send me to a church that would share my heart for mission work. He did just that and since then I have taken dozens of church members on their first mission trip and often first time to leave the USA. We have taken individuals as young as 13 to Romania and as old as 82 to Russia.
Some important steps to take:
- Pastors lead by example, go take the gospel to another part of the world. It is amazing and energizing to preach and give a witness and see many come to Christ as a result.
- Get the church to understand the mission field and get behind your efforts to lead them to reach the world through Christ.
- Challenge the church to get a passport and be willing to take a step of faith to see what only God can do as we go on mission.
- Tell the stories. First-hand stories help them to say, “if others can do it, I can too.”
- It takes time, money and planning. Utilize the expertise of strong mission organizations.
- Put your YES on the table and say to the Lord, “He am I, send me.” Isa.6:8 He has already called us all to be His witnesses unto the ends of the earth.
Mike Peter is the Pastor at Canyon Road Baptist Church, Tulsa and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.