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What will Faith Promise Missions Conference do for your church?

It will build the FAITH of your church, through the expounding of the Scriptures, the experiences that are shared, nad the expressions of satisfaction by the missionaries and by others who are involved in faith promis; the faith of your church will be increased.

It will build a FIRE in your church. In a mission’s conference, perhaps as in no other meeting, your people will become conscious of the souls that are lost, the Savior that loves them, and the Spirit that leads us in winning them.  This then will translate into action in your own church that will bring people to God.

It will build the FELLOWSHIP in your church. A burden for a world that is going to hell without the Gospel will change the whole attitude of your church.  It will destroy a selfish spirity, develop a sharing spirit, and also develop a steadfast spirit among your people.

It will build the FINANCES of your church. As you move to give by faith to missions, you will discover two thing happen.  You free up the tithes and offerings given to the church to be used for local church expenses, but above that, you will discover that God’s shovel is bigger than your spoon, and He will shovel in more than you spoon out.  God will honor the faith, freeness, and feelings of the church as they give by faith to missions.  Space will not permit me to tell about many churches that experienced increases in tithes and offerings to the church as the church moved to give to missions by faith.

It will build the FIELD of your church. Humanly spaking, the outreach of your church is very limited.  But as you get involved in faith promise giving and taking on the missionaries, you move from street to street, from state to state, and from shore to shore through your missions program.  Everywhere you support a missionary becomes a part of your church field, until one day you realize God’s field is the world (Mt. 13:38).

It will build the FUTURE of your church. I would not attempt to make you believe that the churches with faith promise mission programs do not have any problems, but since missions is the very heartbeat of God, as you move to give by faith, you can be assured of God’s presence, peace, and protection on your church.

It will be the FINAL reward for your church. Many churches major on super structures or comfortable conveniences for their people.  These will not gain much attention at the judgment seat of Christ, but faith promise missions will bring much fruit that will be accredited to the church’s account (Phil 4:17).  I believe the Lord will bring together each church, their missionaries, and the fruit of the missionaries’ labors at the judgment seat of Christ, and the church members will get to see the fruit of their mission giving.  You talk about a shouting time, we’ll have one!

By Dr. Roger Baker

Missions

A famous artist was once asked to paint a picture of a dying church. It was expected that he would paint a small and humble congregation in an old, rundown, dilapidated building. Instead, he painted a stately edifice with a rich pulpit and magnificent windows — and near the door, an offering box, marked “Missions” with the contribution slot blocked by cobwebs.

When a church loses its burden for missions, it can pretend to be alive, but it’s really dead! It has ceased to be a New Testament church. Remember, the mission of the church is missions!

Interview a Missionary

Although it is a delight for a church to hear a missionary presentation, sometimes the pastor may want to interview the missionary in front of the church. Interviewing a missionary will allow the church to hear the specific questions that can most benefit them. This list is in no way perfect, just a few that will spark other ideas.

  • Tell us how you got saved.
  • Tell us why you believe God wanted you to be a missionary.
  • Why did you choose that specific country?
  • How could we as a church have a part in your ministry?
  • What was the strangest experience you have had so far?
  • What was the hardest challenge you have faced?
  • What is the funniest thing that has happened?
  • What is your favorite memory from your time in the country so far?
  • How can we be praying for you?

The House of Onesiphorus

We find in II Timothy 1:16-18 that Paul talks about the house of Onesiphorus and says of him that, “he oft refreshed me” and “he ministered unto me.” What a testimony this man had towards the servant of God. Paul was thankful to this man who had helped him along the way, more than once. This household both refreshed Paul and ministered to him. I’m not sure if they provided Paul with a place to stay, food to eat, clothes, supplies for the journey, special prayer or just a place to relax, but Paul was thankful to these people. May all of us Christians learn to minister to others and refresh others!

Here are a few ways you can refresh and minister to your missionaries:

  1. With your Mouth — Give them a call and let them know. Speak to them when they visit your church. Find out something about them, their interests, birthdays, names and prayer requests. Use your mouth to encourage them along the way. Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Use your mouth to refresh the servants of God on the front lines.
  2. With your Hands — send them an email of encouragement. Correspond with them, letting them know that they are not forgotten. Let them know you are praying for them and your church wants to send more laborers to help them. III John says we do well when we help along the journey those that have went forth for the Name’s sake (vs.6-7). When a missionary comes by the church on deputation, receive them, help them out, give them a handshake with a bill in the palm of your hand. We do well when we use our hands to help these godly soldiers on their journey for Gospel’s sake.
  3. With your Feet — take a trip and visit them. Send your pastor or youth group to go visit the missionaries. Luke ministered to Paul with medical attention, the Shunammite woman and her husband ministered to Elisha by giving him a place to stay (II Kings 4:8-10) and Phoebe was a helper in many general ways (probably housing, food, finances and encouragement — Romans 16:1-2). Don’t wait for the missionaries to go to you, use your feet and go to them.
  4. With your Heart — Be willing to send your kids on a mission’s trip. How come is it that we are often willing to let others go but try to guard our own children from visiting? Would we as parents be willing to allow our children to pray about being missionaries? Our heart follows our money (Mt. 6:21), so support missionaries financially and even consider giving a special gift towards a project they have or just a “non-expected” offering.

We should strive to be like the house of Onesiphorus, both ministering and refreshing the servants of the Lord. It doesn’t matter about our talents or abilities, all of us can use our mouths, feet, hands and hearts to refresh those carrying the Gospel.

The Forgotten Obligation in Missions, Prayer

Prayer is many times the last resort or the least respected method of getting involved in reaching the world with the Gospel. Many people say, “Sorry, all I can do is pray,” as if it’s a bread crumb we can throw towards the cause for missions. But how wrong we are! Jesus told us to see the need and then begin our efforts by praying (Matthew 9:36-38). When we pray, we get involved. It’s not necessarily what we are praying for, but Who we are praying to that is the key. We pray to the God of the harvest, the One who sent His Son for the lost.  Prayer, a last resort? No way! Start with prayer. Start crying out to God for the lost, for those going to tell the lost, for our children to be used of God and for our money and our efforts to be plugged into God’s plan for global missions. If we will truly and genuinely pray to God, maybe we ourselves will hear the whispers of the Lord of the harvest telling us to do all within our power to act. Prayer is the key that starts the engine. Prayer awakens the heart of God and makes aware the heart of man. It was Hudson Taylor, the great missionary of China, that said we can move man, through God, by prayer alone. When we pray, God moves, God’s children move and puzzle pieces begin to take shape.

Before my wife and I left for the mission field of Argentina, we prayed that God would prepare the hearts of the Argentine people. We knew we didn’t have the ability, the power, the strength or talent; we needed God to go before us. After we raised our funds, we moved to Argentina and changed our prayers from “God, please prepare the hearts of the Argentines” to “God, please send the people whose hearts you have prepared.” It sounds all too simple and maybe even unreal to many, but little by little God sent men and women to us to do His work. Lives were changed, marriages were saved, young men were called into ministry, churches were started, young people surrendered and the Gospel was proclaimed. The key? I can confidently tell you it was not me. It sounds too simple, but the truth was that we prayed and God moved. My story is not unique, it’s not the first time or the last time it can happen. God wants His children to call on Him. I’m confident that we have not because we ask not.

 

When God’s people pray, doors are opened, the devil is crippled, men are saved and God’s power is unleashed.  The power of prayer is not natural; it is supernatural. We can work in our own strength or work in God’s strength. We are not smart enough, rich enough or strong enough to do the work without God’s help. We need what only God can do, and that is made possible through prayer.

It has been said that all our problems are prayer problems. Think about it. Is money the reason you can’t get involved in world evangelism? Is fear of a tropical diseases or security the reason you couldn’t launch out and take the Gospel? Is the hope for fame, respect and fortune the reason you don’t want your child to become a missionary? Are there too many details that would need to work out for you to give, go or totally surrender to God’s plan of global evangelization? Whatever doubt, fear, or anxiety you may have, God is big enough to take care of it!  God can move paperwork, money, health and obstacles. The king’s heart is in God’s hand and God can move it however He sees fit (Proverbs 21:1). God can open the doors and remove all the obstacles. Our problems are in capable hands when we turn them over to God.

A missionary needs to raise funds, cross cultural barriers, learn a new language, obtain the appropriate paperwork, rent a building, gather people and prepare men to take his spot and advance the work. What do all of these have in common? They are all a challenge for us, yet they are all simple for God. Prayer is the key that unlocks and unleashes God to show His might.

The lost people still need to hear, missionaries still need to go and Christians still need to surrender to take the Gospel. How can all this happen? The simple yet profound answer is prayer. God’s children know a theory of prayer, but it must be exchanged for a practice in prayer. Our God is a big God that can do big things, and it’s time that God’s children experience His might through the power of prayer.

Remembering Our Responsibility in Missions

Missions should not be one of the many ministries in the church or something we mention once a year; missions should be the heartbeat of the church. We want to get the Gospel out to the world. The following are a few ideas of how to keep missions in front of the people.

 

  • Accept the Task: The Great Commission is for the church, for God’s disciples, not for the lost world who does not know Him. It is our responsibility if we are a child of God.

 

  • Pray for the World: Put a map up and start praying. Have a missionary and country of the week and pray for them. Put the missionary, country or stats in the bulletin. Announce it and put it on the screen. Make sure the need stays in front of the people. Pass around a card each week in Sunday school or small group classes and sign the back, saying you have prayed for them. Scan or give this card to that missionary to encourage him.

 

  • Teach Missions: It is our job as spiritual leaders to inform all the people, from the nursery to the children to the youth classes, all the way through the senior citizens. Missions cannot be just one of the programs of the church, it must take forefront of our church. A large majority of missionaries serving on the field surrendered their lives when they were young… so we must teach missions throughout every age group of our church. Missionary stories to the children, missions trips for the youth and missionary biographies available for all. Keep the prayer letters around the church or in the bulletin. Post on social media so people can see and read what God is doing around the world!

 

  • Give to Missions: We’ve all heard the old adage, but it’s true that we must put our money where our mouth is. We should unashamedly give to missions. Statistically, less than 20% of Independent Baptist churches have an annual missions conference. During a mission’s conference the missionary can present his burden and needs and the people can make a commitment to give to missions throughout the year, knowing where their money is going. This will greatly encourage the people to give to missions.

 

  • Regular Communication: Encourage the church people to contact the missionaries via email or social media. When there is good communication, there is both knowledge of what is going on as well as interest in what is going on in the world of missions.

Goals for Local Churches

Goals for Local Churches (From the book Discovering Missions by Charles R. Gailey / Howard Culbertson)

Some local churches set very audacious global mission goals for themselves. An example is the West Covina (California) Christian Church, whose leadership came up with the following goal statement:

“Because our blessings have brought equal responsibilities, we therefore set the following goals:

  • World evangelization permeates church life throughout the year.
  • Every member expects to have some role in the global harvest.
  • God’s heart for the nations is heard in almost every service.
  • Church leadership continually challenges couples and singles to consider
    going overseas.
  • Going on short-term mission trips is the expected norm.
  • The average lay member of this congregation, knowing God’s heart for
    all nations is a major theme of the Bible, can name several scripture passages about world evangelism.
  • Global mission needs will be met even before the local church electric
    bill is paid.
  • Most members will know the church’s adopted missionaries, where they
    serve, and what their needs are.
  • Mission information and prayer times are mainstream.
  • The church aims to give no less than 25% of its income to world missions.
  • World evangelization is seen as half the reason that local church exists.”

Because the essence of the gospel—the Good News—is such that it must be shared with all people everywhere, mission cannot be left to a few missionary-minded people. Because global mission is on the heart of the triune God, it must be on the heart of the local church.

Different Ways To Give To Missions

As I have traveled, I’ve seen various means in which churches give to worldwide missions. You may think that some are better than others, but it is my opinion that any idea is better than no idea when it comes to giving to missions. So here’s a list of different ideas:

  • Budget: Some churches give a percentage out of the general budget (10-20% are the most common numbers I have seen or heard).
  • Faith Promise Missions: Passing out faith promise cards and asking the church to commit to a certain amount per week/month/year for missions. Cards are usually gathered up at the end of the mission’s conference. Some churches have a mid-year conference or missions emphasis Sunday(s) as a reminder of their commitment.
  • Sunday School Classes: A specific Sunday school class supports a missionary. They read the missionary’s updates in class, take up an offering and support one or more missionaries as an individual class.
  • Children’s Offerings: On Sunday mornings the children in the church take up change (or bills) in the service and that offering goes specifically to missionaries or a missionary project. Others will take up offerings in the children’s church and use that offering for missions.
  • Wednesday Night Offerings: Although I have seen this with Sunday nights as well, some churches will use the offering from a specific service to go towards missions.
  • Vacation Bible School Offering: Many churches raise a large sum of money during Vacation Bible School and send it for specific missionary projects.
  • Individuals Within the Church: I have seen some churches that ask individuals or families in the church to sponsor a missionary. The church asks the family or individual to commit for one year.

What is the best way of giving? I personally prefer the faith promise route, but to be quite honest, any way a church or person gives to missions is not a bad way. And I have found out that the people blessed for the offering is the giver more than the one receiving the offering. It’s always good to give to God’s work!