In Sunday’s sermon we introduced six areas of focus for missions, each of which begins with P. To give us a handle on all six we said we must be like “P’s In A Pod.” Since I did not have time to elaborate on each, I want to revisit three of them in this post. In my next post I will cover the other three.
If we are to remain a strong missions-focused church that supports missionaries on the field, sends people on strategic short-term trips, and produces lasting fruit among the nations, we must make disciples here where we are. This is true for three reasons.
First, no one values missions unless they are growing in Jesus Christ and learning to value what he values. Most likely this will not happen unless a person is regularly in the Bible, praying, and unless they have someone else coming alongside them to show the way. This fall we will unveil some tools that will help us be more effective helping each other grow within our Ironman/woman teams and Bible Fellowships. Typically as people grow in their understanding of the Bible and in their relationship with Christ, they will have a greater desire to make disciples and to order life by the Scriptures. This is the door to a missions-oriented life. Apart from this, people typically do not value missions.
Second, the knowledge, character, and skills picked up when people are discipled by someone else and, in turn, learn how to disciple others are the very prerequisites for reaching out to internationals in our own area and for being the most effective on short-term trips. Such persons are essential for any missions movement within a congregation.
Third, as I mentioned in the sermon, the nations are coming to us. Hundreds of students from other countries come to the University of Nebraska in Kearney. A good number of them would love to have a home-away-from home and to learn about American life. And so, they would love to have a family or someone come along side them to befriend them from the area. Here is where what we are learning and what we are encouraging each other to do in Ironman/woman teams can serve us well. Take them with you to events, have them to your home, send them birthday cards, pray for them, and ask God to give you open doors to share Jesus Christ with them. When we win an international student to Jesus and then help establish them in the faith, we enable them to take the gospel back to their country. This is one of the most effective means of missions in our day—and it should be something in which any of us can participate.
There are a number of missionaries our church supports and also others with whom the church has connections. With each of these God has orchestrated things such that he developed the relationship with them and the congregation and also led them to the place in the world he wanted them. One of the most important ways we carry out the missions call is to care for and to support these brothers and sisters on the front lines. Every missionary needs a home church and also supporters who are praying for them, encouraging them, and helping them carry what is often a heavy load.