Our ministry travels as representatives for New Tribes Mission bring us face to face with many facets of missions focus among local churches. One such church that we’ve serviced several times this last year left a huge impact on us from the moment we walked thru the doors.
Scattered along corridors and in hallways throughout the church are large framed art pieces hanging on the walls. Each one bears a colorful portrait of a supported missionary and a brief overview of their ministry. Next to each framed piece is an attractive literature holder with current news updates. There’s another holder with pre-addresses stamped envelopes to encourage church members to write to their missionaries, and still another holder with current printed prayer requests. That kind of encouragement, to a missionary, goes a long way –like saying “sic em” to a dog.
Not only does the decor of the church scream ‘missions interest,’ it is also echoed on the cover of the church bulletin as well as the sign on the lawn. Inside, people chatted about the latest prayer requests from the regions beyond, or passed along items of praise received through weekly correspondence with their missionaries. We were awestruck by such focused vision!
Down the hallway we could hear children singing mission-themed songs. In a nearby classroom teens gathered to plan a mission’s trip, while adults met in prayer for missionaries traveling out to a local outreach that day.
Sunday school started with a focus on the particular mission’s goal of the month and a video/phone call to one of their overseas missionaries. The worship hour included a report of a recent missions venture, and the commissioning of a member, a nurse, going out on a short term trip. Even the music carried the theme of reaching the world with the gospel. The Bible message ‘The Walk of the Believer,’ also included a stimulating mission’s challenge. –Little wonder that this church has sent out so many missionaries.
While the Bible has a lot to say about reaching lost people with the gospel, we believe that missions’ vision is caught, not taught, though it needs to be taught. –We’ve been to places where it isn’t taught at all; therefore, it is not caught.
Our message in recent months has centralized on the element of prayer in missions. Those praying (Matthew 9:38) are the ones going (Matthew 10:1). We trust that many more churches will make the Great Commission a priority of worship. …And in so doing, we can speed the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world.