I recently heard about a local church with financial problems that looked to their mission budget as an easy target for cuts.
Sweet Bridget and I served for a time in Africa. Having made such meaningful memories in South Africa, Malawi, and North Africa, part of our heart has been planted there (1 Th. 2:8). It’s heartbreaking to think global mission could be viewed as a low priority.
Last month, we heard Larry Osborne of North Coast Church teach from his book Mission Creep. Jesus gave us one mission (Matt. 28:16-20). But Larry explained the process of drift. When we consistently miss His target of multiplying disciples all over the world who obey Jesus, we tend to shift our aim toward whatever we think we’re good at.
Insert: _______________ …programming, music, food, ad nauseum.
Larry acknowledged North Coast won’t be around forever. He soberly stated, once it’s reached its lifespan, like any human organization, it will cease to exist. Its meeting space will likely be used for another purpose. But the kingdom of God, which they sought to advance, will live on… eternally. Toward kingdom unity, Larry charged church leaders to consider a local missional gift to a neighboring church in need, even one of another denomination.
Unless the Lord returns first, the day will come when every local fellowship–even the historic Park Street in Boston–will have run its course.
The question is:
Until that day, are we living to advance our own castles or His kingdom?
Jim Cymbala, who we were blessed to hear the final Sunday of our American Revival Heritage Tour, explains the identity of the people of God and our purpose when we gather: Jesus called us, “a house of prayer for all nations” (Mk. 11:17).
Prayer + Mission → Our Focus
Jim Cymbala & the Music Conference choir ~ Brooklyn Tabernacle, New York City (10-7-19)
I was in an elder meeting once where a slight mission budget cut was proposed, which would’ve eliminated support for some of our faithful missionaries. I’ll always remember the words of a seasoned elder:
“What message do we send to our church and to our young people if we defund our mission?”
For local churches:
- Consider your missionaries an extension of your staff.
- Partner based on shared mission and kingdom values.
We developed these mission partner criteria questions to help guide our team.
- Invest in your partners’ development and fruitfulness.
- Communicate well and regularly with one another.
- Be faithful in prayer for one another.
If we want to leave a legacy that outlives us, let’s live to advance kingdom purposes that are truly eternal.
Feature image credit:
NASA, “On October 7, 2018, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph while orbiting at an altitude of more than 250 miles over Australia” (Earth Enveloped in Airglow).