Releasing missions from the local church

by Martin Baty, pastor Capital Vineyard

The object of this article is to assist people who have a passion to see the Kingdom of God extended beyond the four walls of the local church. Primarily the focus will be on cross- cultural missions, but the content will slot into Missions: Local, Near and Far. 

Hopefully this will encourage us to simply “Rise Up” and “Do Something”, or if we are already doing stuff to go and do more. Also, where there is little interest or perhaps little understanding about missions on the part of local church leadership, this will provide some guidance towards resolving this and implementing a missions programme in your church.

I will divide this up into three main categories with the acronym AIM – All Called, Initiate (Ignite), Maintain.

A = All Called

All means All. That is, every one of us. We are ALL “On A Mission from God”. We have been given a mandate by Jesus to share the good news of the Kingdom Of God to all peoples (every nation and people group). 

Matthew 28:19-20a, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 20:21, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 

Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the good news.” 

Luke 24:47, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem.”

Matthew 24:14, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.”

Zechariah 4: 6, “Not by might not by power but by my Spirit.”

From the time of Abraham it was always God’s intention to use His people to be a blessing to others (Gen 12: 2-3).

Missiologist Arthur F. Glasser: “God’s programme for evangelism of the world involves the local church. Unless local congregations are firmly established in each population centre that has been evangelised there can be no satisfactory way of conserving the results of evangelism.”

CMS missions leader Michael Green: “There can be no doubt from a candid examination of the New Testament accounts that the prime purpose of the coming of the Spirit of God upon the disciples was to equip them for missions. The comforter comes not to allow men to be comfortable but to make them missionaries.”

Vineyard is a church planting movement that believes the most effective means of global evangelism is through church planting in all nations. As family members of the Vineyard we, too, must be committed to taking the Good News of the Kingdom to all peoples.

I = Initiate (Ignite)

Do something. 

Don’t pressurise the pastor/leaders. In many cases they might not have a grid for missions. Just focusing on the local congregation may be all they can handle. 

Have a plan – pray, meet with your pastor/leaders and offer to start something. Here are some possibilities:

·       Meet with a group of interested people to pray and gather ideas. 

·       Missions Sundays two or three times a year with guest speakers.

·       Projects/sponsorship, which raise an awareness of cross-cultural missions.

·       Run a missions course, such as “Perspectives on World Christian Movement”, Vineyard College papers etc, followed by a short-term missions trip. Studying with a group and then going on a short-term trip will ignite something. Ideally get the senior pastor/leaders on a trip. 

You may also like to partner with other churches in mission, which offers wonderful opportunities. By banding together, a number of smaller churches can achieve a most effective cross-cultural mission. By pooling resources such as training, logistics, equipment, contacts, skills and finance, their ability to impact is multiplied. Several churches working together (synergy) can see a new work finally established. 

Step out and have a go. If you wait until you have enough money or until everything is perfect then you’ll never do anything. Faith is spelt RISK.

M = Maintain

It’s easy to initiate something, but maintaining it requires real commitment. It seems that with missions it’s easy to let it drop off the radar.  Some suggestions for missions maintenance:

·       Missions budget: Shows commitment and will keep it on the radar.

·       Missions team: A committed missions team with vision together with the support of church leadership is essential if we are going to go the distance.

·       Support something or someone involved in cross-cultural missions.

·       Attend VCANZ missions round table events to be aware of what’s happening in our movement.

So let’s AIM for something together and Go Do His Work His Way knowing that He will supply the resources.