How to Lead Your Church in World Mission
How can church leaders seek to do more as a local church to extend God’s kingdom across the world?
If the FIEC’s vision is to reach Britain for Christ, are overseas missions just a side issue, unrelated to its primary vision? Not necessarily.
For FIEC churches to be missional churches, they need to be involved in obedience to God’s commands, one of which is to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This command, given to Jesus’ followers, and hence to us, is one that we need to take seriously if we call him Lord.
It doesn’t mean every one of us has to go to the mission field, because Jesus was addressing a group of disciples not an individual. It does mean, however, that every group of believers, or every local church, needs to engage in the Great Commission - otherwise it will become the Great Omission.
God reveals his concern in John 3:16, what has been said to be the most famous verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world...” God loves the world and, as such, we should too. The best way to do so is by praying, giving, and getting involved in world mission.
Take the lead
The key to local churches being involved in overseas missions is the pastor. If the pastor takes the lead, his church will follow (Judges 5:2).
It may be that the best way a church can begin to engage in world mission is to send the pastor on a short term mission trip. This would be an investment the church makes in the life of their pastor, and therefore in themselves.
If it is not possible for the pastor to go, the next best thing would be to get members to experience mission by joining a short term team. To really benefit and learn from them, upon their return, they should be given time to report back to the whole church family; things such as what they did and experienced and what they learnt about God, themselves, and mission.
Support a mission partner
The goal of mission experience in the church is engagement - engagement of the whole church in how they can support global mission through a particular ministry. If it isn’t possible to find those willing and able to do short term mission due to the expense and time, then you could invite a missionary in to talk about their ministry.
Maybe there is some link already within your church fellowship that can be strengthened and formalised? Maybe an extended family member of someone in your fellowship is a missionary? If not, do any in the church pray regularly for a particular mission society or missionary? If there are several options, the church together needs to decide which one to engage with - taking on one at a time is enough.
Invite that person to come and speak so people can meet them and get to know what they are doing. The aim is that every member prays for them and that they are prayed for in Sunday prayers.
In time, as people get a heart for them and their ministry, there should be an accompanying financial commitment.
Make a personal connection
In saying all this, what I am urging is a personal connection and relationship with someone engaged in mission overseas. If there is no natural link, then the church together can choose a mission society with the aim of having a field missionary come and share about their ministry with the potential for real interest and a long term relationship to form.
We long to see the Lord calling more missionaries to the harvest field and it has often been a missionary on furlough speaking about their ministry that has been the means by which God has laid a call to such a life on the heart of a young person who is listening.
If all local churches were engaged in mission in this way, through a personal connection with prayer and regular financial support, I believe the work of God’s kingdom would be greatly advanced and we would be part of the answer to our own prayer “your kingdom come, your will be done”.