"…you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Acts 10: 37-38 ESV
Jesus’ ministry started at home; “beginning in Galilee… [He] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed.” The needs at home are compelling and present a great opportunity to us to embody God’s love and grace to hurting and lost people close to us. It is our first mission place. When we attach faces and stories to the problems and issues in our community, we become part of a transformational movement of Christians. It allows us to see the possibilities of broadening the net to other places and people; near, here and there. We become connected locally and globally, with involvements in people’s lives and ministries around the world. We become part of a Global Christian Connection; we become Global Christians.
When we hear the word “Missions,” we have a tendency to think of overseas missions. We see specially equipped people come to our churches and make presentations about the wonderful things they hope to accomplish, and often do, by God’s grace. We will take a “share” in their mission and maybe our church will add them to the budget. And we pray for them. We might send teams to help them out. We connect with them and the people they reach. Their stories become part of our story.
Good planning for our personal and church missions’ involvement will accomplish a few things. First, we enter into a deeper level of discipleship. We come to see the world as God sees the world, beginning in our communities and then realizing our collective global impact. Second, with the personal connections we make to missionaries, sister congregations, and people all over, we become part of the Kingdom expansion that God is accomplishing. Third, we really increase the effectiveness of those we partner with to change lives in the name of Jesus; to bring Glory to His name.
Here are two things that you might consider doing personally, and then as a church.
1. Prayerfully consider what causes and issues you resonate with, locally and globally. Poverty, education, hunger, domestic abuse, substance abuse, sex trafficking, orphans, etc. What touches your heart, what is “Dear” to you?
2. What partners can increase your involvement in making a difference? Are there community projects, schools, ministry groups, etc.? What is “Near” to you that you can be a part of? What about nationwide issues and groups? Immigration, race reconciliation, and many other social issues need the collective involvement of church in the U.S., churches that are “Here.” And then we can look internationally or “There.” Disaster Relief, Sister Church, Missions Organizations, etc.
When we focus and are purposeful, we can make an even greater impact on the world we live in, and our local churches. We can become stronger and more resourceful as we collaborate for Christ.
The Evangelical Church is committed to living as the body of Christ so people might be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ and mobilized on His mission. If you would like more information on how you can do this, please contact us.