The great task of worldwide evangelism was given to the church. It is the glorious privilege and responsibility of every group that calls themselves a church. Even though churches work together in this task, every church should pray, go, and give as if they were the only church. In other words, the purpose of our church is worldwide evangelism. The great commission is not just a good idea. It is not a suggestion. It is not even a request. It is the final mandate of the Lord to His Church just before He ascended back to Heaven.
He plainly commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” The word teach here means to make disciples. We are to evangelize the entire world. This is done by the preaching of the Gospel. All men need a Saviour. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. We have good news for sinners. Sinners do not have to pay for their own sins by dying and going to Hell. Christ has died for them. He paid the price for them. Again He commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In reality, no group that is not at the task of worldwide evangelization should call themselves a church. Missions is not a program in the church. The mission program of the church is missions.
The Pastor Is the Key
As in every other activity of the church, the key person is the pastor. If missions is not a priority with the pastor it will not be a great missions church. However, if it is a priority with the pastor, any church regardless of the size can have a great missions impact. Since the pastor is the key there are some necessary ingredients. He must have knowledge of the needs of the world and thus a burden for the world. He must have an unselfish spirit concerning the finances of the church and the members of the church. A great missions church will give a large percentage of their total offerings to missions. From a great missions church some of the best members will go to the mission field.
The first organized missionary is found in the thirteenth chapter of Acts and the first missionaries were the most prominent leaders of the church, Paul and Barnabas. The pastor must regularly preach on missions and regularly have missionaries in the church and before the people. Missionaries must be considered and respected as a vital part of the total ministry of the church.
An Annual Missions Conference Is Vital
There must be a time set apart each year for an emphasis on world evangelism. Only a small percentage of churches have missions conferences. The mission conference should be well planned and promoted in every ministry of the church. Good, lively missions music, and good missions preaching is vital. Missionaries should be given opportunities to challenge the people and the members should be encouraged to interact with the missionaries. Finances for the conference should come from the missions budget or offerings taken several weeks before the conference. An annual conference will keep the church totally involved in the task of worldwide evangelism. We don’t get what we want. We get what we emphasize.
A Written Policy Will Provide Stability
A written missions policy can be a great guide for churches. Some of the things that should be addressed in the policies are:
1. What kind of missionaries will the church support?
2. The amount of support
3. What will the church do with missionaries that change fields?
4. How long will the church support the missionary?
5. Support for the retired missionary
6. A description of what the church expects from those they support
7. What mission agencies will the church support or receive missionaries from?
These are some of the issues that should be considered in a missions policy statement. Having a written policy will prevent a church from having to make an emotional decision about each missionary and about each situation that arises.
Your Church Can Make a Difference
Regardless of the size of your church, you can make an impact on a lost and dying world. Jesus tells us, “The Harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” The harvest has never been so great and the labourers so few. Your church through praying, giving and sending can provide the labourers for the great harvest fields of the world. This will not happen without a conscious effort on the part of the leaders of your church. Stop and think. Is my church totally involved in obeying the last command of the Lord, or do we just have a token interest in worldwide evangelism?