Preparing a Church for REAL Missions

My Two Cents

I’ve known Pastor Chris Anderson since our university days. Loved his fellowship then and love his blog now (My Two Cents). He recently asked a bunch of missionaries for their “two cents” for a sermon he was preaching. I thought the questions were good and I post my answers here.What biblical passages have been particularly used of the Lord to point you toward the mission field?

1) The WHOLE of Scripture more than any passages … of course a few stand out:
2) The Book of Acts.
3) All the Great Commission passages! Simple and clear.
4) Acts 20:24 … “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

I’m wrapping up a series on evangelism and I’m wanting to end it with a missions emphasis, praying that the Lord will move some of our people to seriously consider taking a more “front lines” role in the Great Commission. How would you counsel me to address the issue from the pulpit? What would you caution me against?

1) Let them know the incredible difficulty of “leaving houses and lands …” for the Gospel. It’s easy to feel the tingly sensations of missionary surrender by listening to a well-crafted, musically-powerful missionary DVD in a climate controlled auditorium and then hearing an impassioned sermon. But turn off the A/C when you preach the sermon. Pump in the smells of body odor and strange food and cigarette smoke. Blast some insipid Balkan or tribal music in the background. Talk about depression and loneliness and pain and smog and threats and fears and danger and discomfort and frustration about the illogical grammar. Talk about there being 10 Demas-es that rip your heart out for every Timothy that is faithful. Talk about pouring out blood, sweat and tears and seeing the harvest come in slower than you thought it would. Talk about missionary kids struggling to adjust and forever becoming “third-culture” people — neither being culturally American nor Timbuktuan. Missionary sacrifice is overwhelming. This isn’t in the fine print — it’s plastered all over the New Testament — but we fail to present this side because we don’t want to sound like we’re bellyaching. War is Hell.

2) Let them know the incredible reward of doing all this for Christ’s sake. Talk up the “joy” that was set before Christ at the cross. Talk up eternal treasure. Mention the party thrown over the 1-in-100 rescued from destruction. Overshadow the immense difficulties of missionary sacrifice by the overwhelming rewards in eternity. Make them jealous for God’s glory and tell them how incredibly amazing it is to see God turn on the spiritual light in a pagan’s heart. Let them imagine how tear-jerkingly awesome it is to hear a sinner calling upon the name of the Lord, after being convicted by the Holy Spirit through someone as unworthy as them. And even in the absence of such conversions on a large scale, let them know that there is great fulfillment in knowing that, amidst the pagan sounds and oppressive darkness, you have been sent as a light, lit by the Light. And though no one come, though no one heed, you are there, and they know you are there, and HE knows you are there — and HE is there with you. Always. Until it’s all over and you go to your final sleep saying, “I left it all on out there on the field — and it was worth it all.”

David Hosaflook, Missionary to the Balkans

My Two Cents Blog

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