Most churches have a desire to send people on short-term journeys
and see their church’s influence on a global scale. Most churches want their
people to go to the ends of the earth. Most churches want to help their missionaries
and be supportive of the work that they have been called to do. And I’m sure in
large part those missionaries really appreciate the fact that their churches
have those desires. But are we really doing the best we can? Are we sometimes
more of a burden than a help to our missionaries? The answer to those questions
is no and yes respectively.
What happens when you get a random group of people together to go on a Short-Term Journey? The chances are very likely that you end up with a missionary who has no idea how you can help them. Thus, giving them the added burden of trying to figure out ways where you can do something while you’re there. The result of a trip like this (assuming it doesn’t end in disaster) is generally a feeling of accomplishment on our end but a big waste of time and energy on the missionary’s end. We’ll come home feeling like we did a good thing because we traveled to a poor country and did VBS or maybe helped build something. Don’t get me wrong those might be good things to do, but probably not things the missionary could use to help them accomplish the vision that God has given them.
So how do we do better? It starts with communication. In order to supply the missionary’s needs with the people/resources in our churches we must know of those needs. If we are in better communication with our missionaries we can know what they are doing and what they would like us to do for/through them. There is a good chance that your missionaries have a specific vision that they are trying to accomplish and doing 15 VBS programs is not likely a part of that vision. I just heard two different missionaries serving in India saying how great the need is for pastors to come over and help train their new, young pastors on how to pastor a church and impart wisdom to these pastors who are still relatively new to this type of role. I know of missionaries in Russia who are focused on planting churches and only want to partner with churches who share that focus.
The two things that you can start to do right now are to clarify your church’s vision and mission and figure out how those are to be implemented into your mission’s strategy and to begin communicating regularly with your missionaries. If you have a mission’s team then challenge them to start bringing you regular reports of what your missionaries are doing, planning, needing, struggling with…etc.
These missionaries aren’t in the field so that the church doesn’t have to go, they are there to lay the ground work so that the church can go.
“And when this letter has been read among you,
have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read
the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the
ministry that you have received in the Lord.””
Have you ever thought
about Paul and his time in prison? What if Paul was not in prison, would we
have his letters to the established churches of that day? Or would Paul have
just travelled to Corinth, Colossae, Ephesus, Philippi instead of writing
letters. We know he sent others as messengers and missionaries, but would he
have travelled himself if not for his imprisonment. I am sure Mark or other
would have written about those travels, but we would not have that first-person
perspective of his teachings and reproof.
In the passage above,
Paul admonished the church of Colossae to share their letter with the church of
Laodicea as well as to read the letter from that church.
What happened to the letter to the other
Was or is the letter lost to this day?
Was the letter just not shared, but kept to
We cannot determine
which question is true, but we do know that the Laodicean church is mentioned
later in Revelations. (Ref: Rev 3:14-22) They are the “lukewarm Church”. These
are a few of the many other questions to ponder but the question I want to ask
today is, “What would Paul write to your church?”
Paul was supported by
these churches and he thanked them for it every time he wrote. In fact, he
thanked them for sending even when he didn’t ask for assistance. (REF:
Philippians 4:10-18) Paul was the first missionary and some would say the
Greatest Missionary. Our missionaries today are no different than Paul in their
need for support. They not only need our financial support, but they need our
prayer support, our care support and our time. What was the last letter you
received from a missionary? How did you respond?
If Paul wrote your church a letter today, what
would it say?
If Paul wrote your church a letter today, would
you share it?
As we approach the month of February many churches will be starting their mission conferences soon! I found this great article written by Phil Bartuska at International Missions Board. The article goes over 6 things we can pray for our missionaries which we would normally not think about. You can also read the article at https://www.imb.org/2018/07/03/6-unexpected-things-pray-missionaries/
Missionaries need our prayers. That seems like a pretty obvious assumption. Most of these men and women have left the comfort of their home cultures to spread the good but offensive news of the gospel among peoples who often couldn’t care less about why they are there. So it’s a good practice to pray for them. Our prayers are usually about their protection, provision, and production (fruitfulness). And we should pray these things for our brothers and sisters.
However, they should only be the beginning of what we pray. There are other needs that are equally important and biblical for us to pray for. Here are six less obvious things for which missionaries need prayer.
1. Community of Fellow Believers
In Acts 2:42ff, Luke wrote of the early church, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers . . . All who believed were together and had all things in common . . . And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (ESV).
“Pray for these men and women to know God is with them, and pray that they would have a community of believers to strengthen them.”
Christian witness is no stronger than when believers join together and live in community as God intended. There are times when missionaries are on their own in order to reach those who have never heard the name of Jesus. However, for the good of their ministries and lives, they need the fellowship of believers. Pray for these men and women to know God is with them, and pray that they would have a community of believers to strengthen them (Acts 2:42–47; Phil. 1:3–8.)
2. Love for Their Family, Team, and City
Ministry can be life-giving and joy-filled, but it can also be time-consuming and exhausting. The work of the missionary is no different. In seasons of fruitfulness and growth, it is easy to abound in love and grace. But seasons of fruitlessness and exhaustion do come. In those times, it is harder to show love and grace, even to their own families. Pray that God would give them a love for their families, teams, and cities. Pray they look to God who freely extended love and grace (Eph. 3:14–21; Ps. 16:5).
3. Strength to Withstand the Schemes of Satan
One thing I often hear others say about missionaries is, “I could never do what they do. I’m not spiritually strong enough.” It is true that God has given these men and women a desire to serve him overseas, but that doesn’t make them super-Christians. Missionaries are reminded every day that they cannot carry out the work before them without the Lord and his strength. One way Satan seeks to thwart the work of God around the world is by luring missionaries into sin. Pray for our brothers and sisters, that they may take up the whole armor of God to withstand Satan’s schemes (Eph. 6:10–17; 1 Pet. 5:8).
“Missionaries are reminded every day that they cannot carry out the work before them without the Lord and his strength.”
4. Refreshment and Joy Amid Discouragement and Trials
Discouragement, trials, and even tragedy are realities that all missionaries face. In fact, these burdens of life can be compounded by being distanced from friends and family. In times of grief, fatigue, or discouragement, it is vital for those on the field to remember the source of their joy and the primary reason they are there. Pray that in the midst of discouragement and trials, they would find joy in their salvation and in the truth that the Lord is near (Ps. 34:17–19; Ps. 51:12).
5. Endurance in the Disciplines
My pastor says, “The gospel is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; it is the pool itself. It is not only the way we begin in Christ; it is the way we grow in Christ.” Missionaries must remain centered on the gospel in order to be a light in the world. It does not matter who you are, spending time with God is key to maintaining and growing in godliness. Just as a lightbulb needs to be connected to its source for power, so do laborers in the field need to be connected to their Source in order to shine brightly in the darkness. Pray that missionaries would be disciplined in walking with God so the light of Christ would shine in the darkness (1 Tim. 4:7; Matt. 5:14–16).
6. Satisfaction with Faithfulness to Christ as Success
Many times, success for missionaries is measured only in seeing a large number of people come to faith. And though Christ commands us in the Great Commission to make disciples, God does not specify how many people you should see come to faith. In fact, it is almost certain that a missionary who serves any length of time will face seasons when they don’t see the results they were hoping for.
The only thing that protects a missionary’s heart from questioning, comparing, or becoming defeated is to “know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58 ESV) and to remember that the Lord demands faithfulness to Christ. Pray for these men and women to be steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and to steward the mysteries of the gospel well so that they may be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:1–2).
So, when we pray for the laborers in the field, let us not just pray for their protection, provision, and production. If you don’t already, get to know a missionary or two and sign up to receive their newsletters. Be intentional about praying for them in specific ways. Pray for them to have life-giving community with other believers, love for their families and cities, strength to withstand the schemes of the enemy, times of refreshment and joy in the midst of discouragement, endurance in the spiritual disciplines, and satisfaction with knowing faithfulness to Christ is success.
Phil Bartuska is an MDiv student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is completing his degree in international church planting. He serves as a church-planting facilitator in Vienna, Austria, with his wife, Becca, and son. You can find him on Twitter @Phil_Bartuska.
We have probably all been there. We really believe that God is
directing us. We have a “vision” or a “dream” of his purpose in our lives. So
after we pray about it, and seek guidance, we make that big decision. We move
across the world, or across country, or even down the street to start our new
ministry. But, when we get there it is nothing like what we expected. There is
one problem after the other. We may feel betrayed by others. We might feel like
we are constantly fighting an uphill battle. We might feel like we made a
mistake, that maybe we didn’t “hear” God after all? We are questioning
ourselves and begin to doubt.
What happens in those moments? Those moments when you feel like
you are doing the right thing. In fact you KNOW you are doing the right thing.
You know your heart is in the right place, you are serving the Lord, listening
to him, obeying him, and wanting to do His will. But, what happens when trying
to do His will feels more like its backfiring.
For many this is when you begin to lose hope. You may begin to
question yourself. You may ask, did I hear God correctly? You may wonder if you
are doing something wrong. You may think you made a mistake. And, you might
assume that you aren’t good enough, and that you can’t handle all these
problems. Your self esteem begins to drop, your confidence in your ministry
begins to lack, and you start to consider other possibilities which include
quitting ministry altogether. For others this may be when depression and
anxiety begin to set in. Especially if these troubling times last for years.
When you get past the phase of working out the kinks, yet you still are feeling
like nothing is being accomplished, or at least not at the rate you wanted, it
can take a toll on your thoughts, your actions, and your physical body. You can
become weary, you can become doubtful, and
you can become heartbroken. What you once were excited and passionate
about is now a feeling of dread, defeat, and doubt. For some this takes a toll
on their spiritual life as well.
When we look at the story of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37,
39-47,50 we see that Joseph had “dreams” and “visions” for his life. These
dreams as a young boy included his brothers one day bowing down before him. For
Joseph he was going to be someone in high power some day, someone well
respected, well-known, so much so that even his own brothers would bow to him.
But, his story didn’t go according to what we might think for man that would
one day be in a position of such great power. Joseph was thrown into a cistern,
I am sure it was dark, cold and dingy down there. A place of despair. I would
assume not a place Joseph dreamed about when he dreamed his brothers would bow
before him. Not long after, the brothers saw a caravan riding by and decided
that instead of leaving him in the cistern to die, they would sell him into
slavery. So off Joseph went with the caravan into a foreign land to become a
slave. During this time I assume that the dreams he had of being in such high
power that even his family would bow to him, were beginning to diminish more.
We don’t know the thoughts of Joseph but this could have been a confusing time
for him, first the cistern, now being completely removed from his family, there
was no guarantee that he would ever see them again, so how is that they would
ever bow before him? But, what we do know, is that “God was with Joseph” and
that Joseph continued to trust and obey God. Because of his attitude and
belief, he was put in charge of the household of one of the highest officials in
the land, Potipher. He was trusted with everything this man had. Until one day,
he was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphers wife, and was thrown in
prison. Once again, not the place you’d assume Joseph would be in when he was
supposed to be in a prestigious and powerful position. But, from what scripture
says, over and over, “God was with Joseph”. Through Josephs obedience and trust
in God, he was put in charge at the prison. Over time, Joseph was interpreting
dreams, while in prison, for the cupbearer and baker of the King. When they got
released from prison, and the cupbearer was to return to his job, Joseph asked him to tell Pharoah to
remember him. But, the cupbearer forgot about him..for TWO years. During that
time, it would seem that Joseph could lose heart, that the dreams he had in his
youth would never come true. But, we know that “God was with Joseph” and
through Joseph’s obedience and God’s grace, Pharaoh himself had a dream, and
called Joseph to interpret it. It’s through this interpretation that Pharaoh
put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Finally, this is the time when
Joseph would see those dreams coming true. When his purpose would be revealed.
There was a famine in the land, and it was because of Joseph’s character, Joseph
never giving up, and God being with Joseph that he would not only save his
family, but an entire nation. Josephs dreams did come to fruition, his brothers
did bow down to him. In Genesis chapter 50 beginning in verse 15, after the
death of Josephs father, Israel, his brothers began to get worried and thought
that now that their father was dead, Joseph would take revenge on them, so they
told Joseph that their father said, before dying that he must forgive them.
Josephs response beginning in Genesis 50: 19 was “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the
place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to
accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”. He then went on
to say he would provide for them and their children and show kindness towards
You see there are many times in Joseph’s life where he could have given up. Where he could have thought that his dreams and visions weren’t from the Lord. Where he could have thought he was wrong, doing the wrong thing, and that he really was worthless. He could have gone through a great deal of depression. He could have doubted himself and his abilities—to predict dreams. He could have doubted God. He could have had anxiety about dying, or not seeing his family, especially his father. He could have had depression and been in great despair not knowing the future. But, what Joseph realized was that all he went through, was necessary in order for God’s people to be saved, for Joseph and his family to be saved. Had he never been sold, or had he died while in the cistern, or doubted his ability and refused to interpret dreams, who would have been there to tell Pharaoh what was about to come, and who would have been able to store up enough food to save a nation?
When you are doubting your abilities, when you are doubting
yourself, or even doubting God; when you are feeling in despair, depressed, or
that you may have made a mistake, or even God messed up, remember that God
could be preparing you for something greater. All of this didn’t happen over a
course of a week for Joseph it took YEARS for his purpose to be revealed. It
took years of him going from a pit, to slavery, to prison, to being the right
hand man of the King-proving his childhood dreams to be true. It could take
years, but hold on, keep trusting, keep praying, keep believing and God will
fulfill his purpose in your life, and your dreams and visions from God will
come to pass.
1.) Do you feel like you are in a “pit”? Are a “slave”? Or
“imprisoned” right now? If so, in what ways? Why?
2.) Are you finding yourself doubting your abilities?
3.) Are you wondering if maybe you misunderstood God’s plan for
4.) In what ways do you see God moving and working in your life,
even while in a “pit”, in “slavery” or in “prison”?
5.) Spend some time today asking God to reveal to you ways that
he IS moving in your life, for patience to see his will through, and for an
6.) If you are feeling so down that although you see God moving, your depression, despair and anxiety has gotten the best of you please feel free to reach out to a Here 2 There ministries at email@example.com, and/or seek professional help.
We have all had those awkward moments after saying something that either shouldn’t have been said or saying something incorrectly and having it taken to mean something totally different from your intended meaning. In those moments the silence is deafening.
I was reminiscing during the holidays with my youngest daughter, Michelle, about things she remembered from her childhood days. We were talking about a vacation we had taken to the Smoky Mountains when she was three. At that age she had an arm with an easily dislocated elbow which, when out of place, required her doctor to relocate. On this trip we were exploring a cavern on a tour with 30 or 40 others. Of all times, her elbow dislocated. Because this is very painful for her, she would scream out with pain. Not the thing you want to hear anytime, much less in an underground cavern. We took her to a local doctor which did not look like her home doctor, as his age was much different. We both remember him having a bit of difficulty resetting her arm. After the first couple of tries, Michelle in her loudest voice told him he was not a “Real” doctor. We were very embarrassed at the time, but now laugh at the occasion.
In my daily Bible reading I read the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to prove His love and trust in God. The Bible records that Isaac inquired on their journey from whence would come the sacrifice, to which Abraham replied that God would provide for Himself the lamb.(Genesis 22:8) A few verses later we see Abraham binding his son Isaac and laying him on the altar. What we don’t see is any words of objecting from Isaac.
The thought occurs to me that this young man is not recorded to voice any objection to what he had to view as soon death. Don’t you think if this were a youth today there would be much objection voiced by the entire situation? No doubt there would be a fight on the part of the young man in opposition to what was about to take place. There would be national news stories about the father’s arrest for child abuse and attempted murder. It would be all over the social media in no time. Abraham wouldn’t stand a chance in our legal system.
Yet, in scripture, Isaac opens not his mouth. I was talking to my dad, Dr. Jack Dinsbeer, retired Pastor but still writing Bible Studies and teaching and preaching weekly, about this issue. He took me back to Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek in Genesis 14 and what Melchizedek brings, bread and wine as He blessed Abram. Here we have Abraham being assured by example that God would provide for Himself a sacrifice to be made.
I am sure Abraham must have passed on this experience to Isaac in his teachings of God’s faithfulness to he and his family. It is certain that by this time in Isaac’s life Abraham would have imparted a vast amount of wisdom based on his personal relationship with a Holy God. Such wisdom heard, understood, and received must be a factor in Isaac’s acceptance of these unusual circumstances. His silence speaks loudly of his faith in God’s promises passed on to him by his father.
But “Silence” takes on any number of characteristics. In this passage our assumption is that it speaks to Isaac’s awesome faith. Unfortunately it is not always such a positive indication, but still speaks as loudly. Take for instance the list of things Missionaries need to convey to their supporters, but feel they can’t due to negative repercussions.
Here 2 There works with both Missionaries and Churches to bring them into a “Partnership” relationship. One aspect of a true partnership is the ability to communicate information freely, good or bad, without fear of consequences. We are all the time confronted by Missionaries who tell us they can not say some things to their supporting churches because they fear the response would not be good.
Some of these things they need to be able to share with others include:
Matters of a personal or family issue they are going through
Spiritual warfare they are battling on the field
Emotional stress they are feeling
Financial pressures they are experiencing
Desperation over real needs in their life and ministry
Or it may be something good they wish to share, but don’t feel it would be taken the right way, such as:
Our family had the best vacation to some famous place
We got a special gift which enabled us to do a great thing for the family
The fear Missionaries have is that, whether good or bad news, the response is not pleasant and could result in a loss of support. So They Stay Silent ! Unable to share what they really need to communicate to those closest to them due to their fears. You may say this is an exaggeration. But, this is what H2T deals with everyday. The sad news is that it is very damaging to both Missionary and Church Families.
Our solution lies in the establishment of Church Partnership relationships between Missionaries and Churches. That is what we have been teaching and training about for several years. We are purpose in “Closing the Gap Between Missionary and Church”.
When a Partnership relationship exists between Missionary and Church each participant enjoys the blessings of service to the Lord and His works, both on the field and in the pew.
No longer is the Silence Speaking Loudly because Productive Communication is leading to Positive Ministry. I can’t tell you how different this relationship is when there is a union between these entities which moves both forward for the Glory of the Lord.
If you are a part of a church which has little to no relationship and contact with her missionaries, I would love the opportunity to speak with your ministry about the benefits and blessings of doing Missions in Partnership with your Missionaries. By the way, H2T believes Everything a church does is “Missions” and Every Person in the church is a “Missionary”.
In February Here 2 There kicks off our latest training tool AMPD, Association of Mission Partnership Development. This 11 month comprehensive training opportunity promises to be a most effective and impactful tool for any church participating in it. I urge you to go to our website at here2there.org and click on the link for AMPD to discover more.
Several weeks ago our team watched a sermon by Francis Chan challenging the questions, “Do you really have a relationship with God?” Through the first, second and third time I watched it, and then read through the scriptures for several days, God begin to stir in me a vision and a desire for our ministry with churches for 2019. It began to speak to a burden and an unanswered question I have had for some time now, “How can we help the churches want to see the nations come to know Christ?”.
Unfortunately many of the churches we visit with, share our ministry with, approach to work with all give us the same responses, “Our missions program is great!”, “We’re giving more money than we ever gave!” but, rarely do we hear about any of the ministry they are doing, the people they are sending out, the care they are providing or anything new or different besides sending money.
For months our teams have been wrestling with the question,
“Where does a genuine desire for the lost come from?”
The answer that keeps coming back to me is: Prayer and Scripture.
We will see the church passionate, and excited when we are genuinely digging into God’s word, when we are genuinely on our face before God!!!
H2T’s prayer and desire this year is to see THE CHURCH UNLEASHED! We desire to let go of all the distractions and lies keeping us from living out the full and powerful life God has already given us. As we serve our churches and our missionaries this year, our constant prayer, our constant focus and drive will all come from the passion to be UNLEASED.
Ephesians 1:17-23 gives us great details of what God wants to do in us, and our authority as The Church – Christ’s body which is HIS BODY and HIS FULLNESS. Just like Paul prays for the church to have the eyes of their hearts opened. We desire to see the hearts of our churches opened and recognizing the power He has is also the same power we have, and he wants them to know it and life it out.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Specific Prayers for the church:
Unleash the Power of the church
Unleash the dedication of the church to the vision of God
Unleash the power of the Holy Spirit to move mightily in our churches
Unleash the vision God has for his church
Unleash the Church to GO
Unleash the understanding God has for his church
Unleash the belief that believers have the same power as God
Put Christ about all things and consider everything else garbage
Hunger like an addict for Christ
Fast and Pray to know God more
Remove the insecurities we have that keeps us from believing truth
Accept and live in boldness to speak truth and speak up
Recognize we were made for more than “this”
Mind is empowered to life the life we were called – in his immeasurable greatness
Will you join us in praying for the UNLEASHING of The Church in 2019?
Will you join us in praying for our team and the churches we work with on a daily basis to be UNLEASHED?
Will you ask God to open the eyes of your heart so that you will be UNLEASHED?
Just moments ago I began reading the book Antioch Revisited. I got less than two pages into it when I was stricken almost to tears. Now to our staff at Here2There Ministries, this would not be a surprise, as just yesterday I told them of my extreme empathy; my ability to deeply identify with an emotion, a situation, or the condition. I often find myself on the brink of tears when I hear of tragedy in someone’s life or see visual evidence of the same. It is not uncommon for me to get teary-eyed or cry when I think of what Jesus Christ has done for me, that He is even willing to do through me (in spite of who I am), and when I think of those who do not know the Him.
The book I mentioned began with an acknowledgement of a divorce. A divorce more shocking than any I have ever experienced or heard of. If you have experienced your parents announcing to you that they will be divorcing, you still do not know what shock was stirred up in me when I read about this divorce. Even now, I am having a hard time keeping it together, as this is so disturbing that I cannot even understand the emotions that are stirring around in my heart.
Think for a moment of a couple you identify as the one most dedicated and loving couple ever. One who serves in your church (and even in your life) as the perfect mentor couple. A couple who you love so much that you hurt every time there is a problem in their life. When he had his heart attack, you were by his bedside, where also was his dedicated wife. The same guy who mowed your yard when you were sick from the flu, while his wife made chicken soup to soothe your sore throat. That same lady who stood by your wife when your unit was reported missing in Afghanistan. Imagine the shock when you heard from your spouse that they, your pastor and his wife (for example), announced that they were divorcing. Your heart would just drop to the floor in pain.
Sounds crazy, does it not? Can you imagine it for just a moment? That is so disturbing that it is almost painful to even imagine. That is how I felt when I read the book’s first sentence: “It is one of the great tragedies of church history—the divorce between the church and her mission.” About now you are probably thinking to yourself – “wow that was a lot of build up for such an innocuous situation;this is just the way it is today.”
Maybe like you night; I moved right on past that statement and read even to the next page. Though there was not another mention of this divorce after the first paragraph, I could not get this condition out of my heart. There are many reasons why such a divorce is a problem for the church. The loss of purpose, missionaries left stranded, missionaries not being sent, people losing their understanding of the best their church can do for the Kingdom, and the complacency of the sleeping church, but isn’t that just people today?
As I read on, I found that I could not pay attention to what I was reading. That was just minutes ago and I cannot tell you what I read. This hit me in a profound way.
The church? Peter’s church? Paul’s church? Jesus’church? Divorced?! [Are you crying yet – I am.]
It hit me hard. The love of Jesus’ life, is (in many cases) separated from Him –Divorced from the One who most Loves her. Remember this?: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it …” (Eph.5:25) If you have ever experienced your spouse announcing to you that he or she wants a divorce, and then wanted so much fort hat person to turn around and repent from that weak moment, you may understand (just a little) how the Lord feels when He experiences His church disconnected from Him. Consider that the Lord told the church how to Love Him:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.(Acts 1:8)
If the church is not doing this, she is not showing Jesus the love He wants her to express to Him. Sure, He wants us to repent from sin, worship Him, learn His word, trust Him in faith, seek His glory, tell those we meet of the good news of salvation through Him, and love our neighbor as ourselves, but these are the things the individual does. The church is to love Him by being missional. Not doing so is paramount to the church divorcing Jesus Christ Himself.
Your call to action today is to take this message to your church. Help her understand that the Lord wants her back. Teach her to turn around and say, “this is crazy…of course I do not want to leave you!” At a minimum, Love God by going out into your Jerusalem, but remember— He gave His life for the church, so consider Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost.
If you need help with connecting your Jerusalem with Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost, consider attending the Here2There Ministries AMPD cohort program. Find out more by visiting our homepage at www.here2there.org or asking any Here2There representative.
Mark Painter MCM
Missionary Care Lead
Julien, Tom. 2006. Antioch Revisited: Reuniting the
Church with Her Mission. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books.
Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” Genesis 24:1-4
Delegation is a powerful tool that should be used by leaders. Abraham understood he could no longer care for his household as he should so he charged his servant to insure his son took a wife from his kindred. Just as Abraham delegated this great task we should understand when we should delegate as leaders.
Leaders who cannot delegate create bottlenecks and delays. Leaders who cannot delegate miss deadlines and create crisis. Letting go of things is difficult, especially if you have always been the one in charge. Delegation increases productivity as two are better than one. Delegation is a form of discipleship. Allowing someone you have mentored and trusted, shows you believe what you have taught. Letting others take the reins doesn’t mean we have given up, it just means we have taught well.
Delegation in missions, both in the field and at home, demands leading of the Holy Spirit. On the mission field the only people available to delegate, even the simplest of tasks, are those to whom you are there to minister. Trying to do it alone definitely is not the answer. Through church partnerships, the first step is prayer and setting up a local prayer team. Prayer teams are a perfect form of delegation and discipleship. The second step is communication and creating those lines of communication. Communication teams are another form of delegation by the local church. With communication the Holy Spirit moves both on the missionary and the partner church in these critical areas. Delegation both in the field and at home are essential to engagement. Delegation in the supporting church empowers the church to be involved. Support from the local church encourages the missionary and empowers them to delegate ensuring that the Gospel continues even when they are not there.
If Jesus didn’t believe in us to carry the Gospel to every corner of the globe why would He have chosen to die? He has delegated to us (with the leading of the Holy Spirit) the task of reaching the world. Let us also understand that we (and our missionaries) cannot do it alone. Pray that God shows you where and how you can delegate so that, through you, the Great Commission is fulfilled.
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. -Eph 3:10
I recently ran across this verse and it stopped me in my tracks. I was dumbfounded and had to read this one verse over and over again and still I thought there is no way this actually means what it is saying. How could the church make anything known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places? I figured that they would know more about what was going on than we could. And yet, there is was from the hand of Paul.
I had to go to google and see what people who are smarter than me had to say about this verse. After reading some different sources I was blown away by the power that the church holds in this world and in the spiritual realm. Apparently, the rulers and authorities in the heavenly place don’t even fully grasp the manifold wisdom of God and it is the responsibility of the church to show them.
Wow, ok, so how do we do that as mere mortals? Paul goes on to tell the Ephesians that Christ gives us that power through faith in him. Verses 14-20 sum it up very well;
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.
Paul’s prayer is that God would grant us the strength and power, through the Holy Spirit, to comprehend God’s love and know what is inherently unknowable for man and also that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. Then he caps it off with an amazing truth: God can do far more than what we can even imagine. That right there is how we, as the church, can make known the manifold wisdom of God to the heavenly places.
Here2There so believes in the church’s responsibility to also make known this manifold wisdom of God to our world that those same powers are available to and placed inside of us can and should be used to glorify His name from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the Uttermost.
What are you doing allow God’s power to work through your life? Is your church doing anything to tap that power and unleash God’s people into this world?
Here2There can help strengthen your missions strategy. Our passion is to see more people going to more places to share God’s love and make disciples. For more information go to here2there.org.