Six Lessons from a Missionary Church

Do you see yourself as a missionary?  Or do you think of a missionary as someone who travels to a foreign country and engages in some sort of full-time ministry as a career?  While we commend, pray for, and encourage people who are called to minister overseas, we also need to recognize that to be a Christian is to be a missionary–if you belong to Christ you are sent as one of his missionaries to your corner of the world.  In this message I was honored to deliver to Pontiac Bible Church, we cover six lessons from a missionary church and how they apply to our lives both personally and collectively.  I hope you are challenged by this Scripture as much as I was when studying it!

The six lessons:

  1. A missionary church is naturally evangelistic.
  2. A missionary church is intentionally cross-cultural.
  3. A missionary church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  4. A missionary church has godly leaders.
  5. A missionary church practices what it preaches.
  6. A missionary church is a ministry church.

Photo by Barry J. Beitzel. Copyright 2014 Faithlife.

Livestock for Families – A Story

One of the hats I wear at our church is the pastor of connection groups (aka small groups).  And, I want to share a really cool story about a couple of our groups (well, it’s really a story about God).

Once upon a time in 2012, there were four families in southeast Asia who were in poverty.  They worked hard all day, but lived on next to nothing and often went to bed hungry.  They didn’t know God, but God knew them, and He saw their needs.  He sent missionaries to the regions where these families lived and arranged circumstances such that these missionaries would meet and build relationships with the four Asian families.  The missionaries shared the gospel with these families and looked for ways to help them.  See, God was orchestrating it so that these impoverished families in Asia would have their physical and spiritual needs met.

So, God moved in the hearts of a number of young families living in Pontiac, IL, and worshiping together with Pontiac Bible Church.  These families belonged to a couple of PBC’s Connection Groups, and they decided to work together under the banner of Advent Conspiracy.  They each bought a few less Christmas gifts, and instead pooled their money to help those families in southeast Asia by donating valuable livestock through Gospel for Asia.

See, the idea behind Advent Conspiracy is to spend less and give more.  Instead of buying a sweater that he won’t wear, or a toy that she doesn’t need, why not spend less on presents?  The most valuable gift a person can give is time.  So, these families bought less presents and instead spent more time than money.  Then they gave the money they saved on presents to one of the pastors at PBC (that’s me!) and asked him to help those families in Asia.

And that’s just what he did.  With over $1,300 to spend, that pastor sent a water buffalo, two cows, and a goat to the missionaries working for Gospel for Asia.  Overjoyed, the missionaries got to give these livestock as late Christmas gifts to the four families God was looking out for.  Through the missionaries, Gospel for Asia, and the Connection Groups at PBC, God gave the Asian families gifts that will provide food, labor, and income for years to come.

Isn’t God cool?

Summer Mission Trip!

So… I’m leading a team from my church on a mission trip to Guatemala this summer!  Woohoo!  We’ll be staying and serving at Village of Hope, an orphanage ran by Todd & Amy Block and Dan & Christi Ucherek in partnership with Lifesong for Orphans.  Sunday we had an informational meeting about the trip and almost 50 people showed up!  I know several more wanted to be there but couldn’t make it, so I thought I’d post the short version and essentials here.

Dates

July 31 – Aug 5, 2013 (that’s a Wednesday – Sunday)

Purposes of the Trip

  1. Provide pastoral care to the Blocks and Uchereks (“pastoral” care isn’t just something that “pastors” do).
  2. Help with construction on a security wall around the perimeter of Village of Hope.
  3. See the work the missionaries are doing and report back to PBC.
  4. Expose American Christians to the poverty and needs in other countries, and ignite a passion for missions in them.

Cost

Total cost is approximately $1650/person.  Here’s how that breaks down:

  • $700 – plane ticket (this may end up cheaper if we get a group rate from the airline)
  • $750 – lodging and food at Village of Hope (it costs them to house us)
  • $200 – food on the way there and on the way home, and any purchases you want to make in the local markets and villages.

Feel free to bring more if you’d like.  You are also responsible for getting your own passport.

Requirements

  • Must be a Christian.
  • Must be at least 14 years old (due to safety issues – the Blocks were recently mugged at gunpoint and another local missionary was shot to death a few weeks ago).
  • Please fill out this Team Member Application and return it to me by January 6.  We can take ten people, not counting the leaders.  You will be notified by January 13 if you were chosen to be on the team.
  • A 10% deposit ($165) is due to the church by February 13 – if you’re on the team.

Other Info