|UT JUST AS you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us -see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (2 Corinthians 8:7) |
As we begin 2009 it is not only a time for reflection and renewing of commitments, it is also a time to center yourself in the truth. Though the world will often work to sway us from our the path God himself has laid out before us, the Bible is our true center from which to base all of our decisions. Thus, we are to look first there for answers as His word is true. When Jesus, his disciples, and the great Apostles walked the earth they set the tone and example of how we are not only to conduct our lives but also to "do missions." All mission work will have a uniquely different slant or emphasis, as well they should, as we are all blessed with uniquely different gifts and interests. Thought there are many ways to have a successful mission all whether in your neighborhood, locally, nationally or overseas, should share these inherent characteristics as integral components. Just as God is one of order, he laid out for us in detail how we are to plan, readying ourselves for the task of successful mission work. All the results are up to God so we should not be unduly proud or discouraged as we set about to do His bidding, but we should strive by prayer and supplication to learn the leading of the Holy Spirit. Leaning not on our own understanding but that of God and the wise instruction of the Bible we are able to see what Missions were always intended to be. Come along as we discover the majesty of God's plan for you as you seek to tell your portion of the world the Good News of Jesus Christ:
Economic Independence would be a predominant theme offering long-term rather than short-term relief enabling the community and its leaders to begin the process of taking care of their own financial needs. By passing on the gift out of our abundance we would work with local community leaders and the populace at large. By offering seed capital, a cottage industry idea, or needed livestock, seeds, seedlings, etc., mission trips would center on improving the overall economic development of the community offering an investment, which can lead to independence rather than dependence. This is perhaps the longer-term aspect of missions but also one of its most important. An initial mission trip to a community may not be able to best determine what specific application would work best but work should not be unduly delayed as the "time is short". Giving the local community to transcend poverty for themselves will not only empower them but also strengthen the community at large. Utilization of organizations such as www.Heifer.org is strongly encouraged as they will already have the existing infrastructure and resources to effect the desired result allowing the mission team to be the hands and feet of Christ rather than developing a program from the ground floor up.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8) -Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
Missions should include an emphasis with working with a local church to both empower and support through active teaching, programs, and active Bible study. Just as Paul frequently visited and wrote to the church at Thessalonica so should we support, develop, and help mature a local church. By working with local church members we will also be better armed to be more sensitive to physical, emotional, and spiritual needs within a community enabling a mission trip to be more effective and to make a bigger impact by getting behind and supporting a local trip. These actions will lean themselves towards a more ongoing working relationship with a local church enabling mission members as well as the local church to have a more positive impact on the community. Constant care and attention should be given to always respecting the norms of the local culture while not watering down the truth of the Word.
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." (Mark 1:17)
Spiritual, financial, and construction support are all critical components of missions. Emphasis should be directed towards the needs of the community and directives of the local church. Resources should be supplied and left from which the recipients will be able to take the next step in their own economic or spiritual awakening. Age appropriate NIV/study Bible should be left with all active recipients of all church programs and those attending should be actively taught how to read and utilize them. Mission members rather than funding their own support would write "support letters" seeking to raise financial and prayer support. This support should be predominantly centered around non-church members where not only can support and excitement be raised about the project but also telling the good news of Christ to those from whom support is solicited. Care and attention should also be placed to bridge missions to the church congregation at large by active exposure to projects, the mission, and seeking how the local church can be supported on an ongoing basis during the year. An example of this might be for how a local community to produce a product, which could be sold at both the church and locally.
"These women were helping to support them out of their own means." (Luke 8:3)
Just as the Apostle Paul developed his protegee Barnabas so should we work to develop local leaders who will take our actions to the next level. Training and instruction with a select few leaders within the local church and community each trip will enable us to not only broaden our influence but to perpetuate it as well. By following the preview of the early evangelism we can best model our success in the present. Care should be given to ensure that leaders are equipped with not only the word of God but materials, resources, and methodologies to ensure they are ready to lead others and to multiply to making even further disciples/leaders. An ongoing relationship of support and resources will assist the local church in furtherance of the word/overall mission.
"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." (Matthew 28:19)
John Dillard is an author and Certified Public Accountant (All Rights Reserved). To See how he takes Christ along with him to work visit http://www.hiscpa.com/(a Christian CPA firm) and for his latest book Overcoming Life's 9/11's: Job's Journey visit www.John-Dillard.com "Dare to Attempt Something so Great for the Kingdom of God that it is doomed to failure, lest Christ be in it!"
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