Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Missions for the 21st Century

Missions are being done differently in the 21st Century! With the glocalization of the world it is becoming easier for the average layperson to become more actively involved in missions. Many evangelical churches are changing their entire strategies to meet this brave new world.

What I mean by this is that each church or person can look at the gifts that they have and the talents that they have in the local bodies and seek ways of using these unique skill sets and gifts to meet local needs as well as globally. For example a teacher can help local at risk kids learn and perhaps help develop current teaching techniques for schools overseas. Another example would be for farmers to help farmers in drought stricken areas use better methods of irrigating crops to raise more food. Even a biologist could help engineer seeds that might be more drought resistant. All of these would be ways of seeking to fulfill Jesus charge in Matthew 25:34-40

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Of course we must never loose sight of our calling in Matthew 28: 18-20.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

We are commanded to make disciples (which is a life-long process, by the way) and to do so in all the world.

So our goal should be to do this locally, regionally, by country and throughout the entire world. Act 1:8

We need to be intentional in our approach to missions. I believe that this starts with prayer on our part and listening to and following God’s voice and leading. It means realizing that in some instances we need to make use of our resources and give them to local people on the ground who can more effectively reach their local communities.

I have been helping a local ministry in India prepare and train pastors to go back to their local communities to plant churches. It support for a local pastor in a village is approximately $1000 a month and in a city the cost rises to approximately $2000-2500. Compare that to an American missionary in India where we would have to support them to the tune of $4000-7000 a month.

In other instances we need to continue to send people to the foreign field some in long term instances and other times in short term capacities. Sometimes as support for local leaders, other times to raise up local leaders to carry on the ministry. For example China is said to have had only a few believers prior to the expulsion of foreign missionaries but a generation later this number had grown to tens of million or even a hundred million believers because of faithful local leadership.

All of these examples and more have their place in our missions’ philosophy. We need to effectively use God’s resources to extend His Kingdom both here and abroad for the express purpose of bringing Glory to Him!

How’s your serve?

Pastor Val

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