The Heart of the Matter
The Great Commission is an awesome responsibility that the Lord has given to the local New Testament Church. It is, at times, an endeavor that seems overwhelming when we think of the 7+ billion souls on the earth today and that the Lord wants the church to reach them with the Gospel in our generation. The Lord not only gave us the command “to go,” but He also has given us His plan in the scriptures to know how to carry out His Great Commission. God has many players that He wants to involve in this process: the local church members, the pastor, the missionaries, the prayer warriors, the missions evangelist, the missions agency, etc. Those who go and those who send are on the same “world team.” It will take a concerted effort on the part of those participants and the coordinating of everyone involved. How will this goal be accomplished?
Training through teaching and preaching:
Our local churches must be filled with Christians who know the mission. We are senders or sent ones. The mission includes many aspects: evangelism, baptism, discipleship, prayer, giving, etc., but they are all related to the mission. God’s people must be properly trained through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word to become “biblical world Christians.” This takes time, patience, and diligence on the part of the pastor and the church leadership. It is basic to training members of the “world team.”
Planning and establishing a missions program:
There are many good causes that churches and believers can get involved in today, but there is only one ultimate cause: Preach and teach the Gospel, baptize those who believe, plant a true local church where those who believe can be discipled and reproduce themselves (Matthew 28:18-20). The missions cause must be maintained at all times; in good times and bad times, we must stay focused until all the people groups in the world will know Who the Lord Jesus Christ is. To maintain the missions cause, we must have a perfect and undivided heart. Our hearts must beat with Christ’s heart. From this heart the church recognizes its need to set specific and attainable goals, such as:
A definable missions policy:
A missions policy is a key mark of a missions-minded church. It shows that the church is defining its basic mission and gives it a guideline on how to get there. It also shows its unique role in getting the Gospel out and planting New Testament churches in the regions beyond. This brings unity and direction to the local church assembly.
A faith-based missions budget:
A missions budget is the financial expression of a church’s mission program. It develops an orderly plan for growth and establishes priorities for attaining that growth. A budget will enable the pastor and congregation to have common purposes and serve to unify the church. It also provides a point of reference in measuring mission accomplishments. Often those in leadership will say, “Our people are already doing all they can.” This is rarely true! If a church will step out by faith and obedience to the mission mandate of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8), they can climb great “missionary mountains.” The missions budget and proper biblical teaching on Faith Promise (grace) giving should raise their sights and enlarge their vision.
A yearly (Faith Promise) world missions conference:
An annual missions conference should be the key event on the calendar of any church that desires to have a Christ-honoring missions program. It is instrumental in the process of developing people’s interest in, awareness of, and excitement for missions. It is the major way that a church declares that missions is important. The way the leadership of the church presents missions will undoubtedly shape the people’s desire to become involved. It will help to establish the heart for missions in the church by its emphasis on individual responsibility and personal commitment by going, sending, giving, praying for the missionaries, etc. By no means should missions be a once-a-year event. However, the yearly missions conference should serve as an introduction to the church’s year-round ongoing commitment to missions.
Seeking and working with qualified missionaries to support:
The first missionaries were selected by the Holy Spirit out of the leadership of a local church, and affirmed by the church (Acts 13:1-4). These basics are relevant for all local New Testament churches for all time. A biblically qualified missionary will first need a “sending church” and then “supporting churches.” Though it is true that the missionary has need of the church; in reality the church has need of the missionary to fulfill the Great Commission.
Our Goal: To be of assistance to you and your church in any of these needs as you carry out the
“If there be any one point in which the Christian church ought to keep its fervor at a white heat, it is concerning missions. If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate lukewarmness, it is in the matter of sending the Gospel to a dying world.”