Your Pastor’s Perspective – February 2015

          Missions.  What comes to your mind when you read or hear that word?  Personally, I understand that word as a daily lifestyle.  Christians and local churches need to be on mission daily.    Anything less warrants disobedience and thereby sin.

With that said, Christians and local   churches are often led to participate in mission  projects that are scheduled at various times for  various places. For example, in addition to the daily missions of this church through the Family Ministry Center and many other things that happen on a daily basis, there are also seasonal missions like Upward Sports and targeted mission trips which are local, within the State, within the country, and international.

Therefore, I would not say this church is mission-minded.  It is mission-driven.  The reason I can boldly say that is because I have been on staff of churches that have not been overly concerned with missions outside of their Cooperative Program contributions—which is very important!  The fabric of multi-diversified missionary work fits well upon the body of believers gathered at this church. Are we perfect in execution, implementation, and volunteer force?  No.  But I do not know of any church that is.

Let’s take a moment and think about our approach to missions outside the borders of our country. In recent years this church has partnered in Romania. It has also sent various members to West-Africa, Haiti and then Peru. These last three trips have been a tremendous blessing supporting establish work by other churches.  Isn’t now the time that our church begins to seriously pray and consider partnering with the mission boards of our Southern Baptist Convention and become a united force reaching a specific geographical location with the Gospel?

I think now is that time!  Whereas we have served in the mission field outside the boundaries of our country in the south and the east, perhaps we need to look north into Canada.  That’s right.  According to the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of our convention, Canada is a greatly  unreached country.  The catholic church has sold off most of its property which is now being used for museums and malls or it’s sitting vacant.  According to the NAMB coordinator in Quebec, Canadians do not even trust the work of the Roman Catholic church.  That is why now is a strategic time to plant evangelical churches in Canada.

          The prospect of Canadian work is really full circle for me.  My heart was warmed to Canadian work while I pastored in Kentucky.  It was during the Annie Armstrong Easter offering week of prayer the church began to pray for seven Canadian missionaries. As I prayed and learned more about their work in Canada, my spirit was compelled with the possibility of assisting with their work.  The church I was at did not share that vision with me.

Last Spring NAMB invited Becky and I to come to a conference in Nashville as they revealed their strategy to reach North America with the  Gospel. Becky and I ended up sitting at the Canadian themed table, thereby rewarming my  desire for a better  Gospel presence in Canada. A few Sunday evenings ago, I had a very impromptu discussion in the sanctuary about our church’s strategy reaching the unchurched in 2015-16.  Many wonderful thoughts were expressed.  One, however, caught my attention and captured my heart.  It was asked that night about looking at Canada as a missions destination. My heart was very excited about that conversation.

Again, all our international mission trips have been GREAT! I think each one of us would say, if possible, to do all of them over again.   However,  is the foreign missionary this church exerts only in the role of seasonal support to other churches’ foreign missionary work? Are we to take a stand, get our hearts wrapped around a region of the world that has a minimalistic Gospel presence, and become the lead church to reach that area with the message of God’s grace? My heart says yes!

Therefore, I have passed along to the Missions Committee, via Mike Edger (chairperson), information given to me by the four NAMB Canadian coordinators so that we can begin to learn, pray and understand what kind of role  our church can have in advancing the Gospel in Canada.  I will say, as a church, we are well suited for Canadian work.  For they need workers to preach, teach, serve, construct, help, pray, assist, and-on-and-on-and-on.  Join with me and turn your prayers North and see if your hearts are also warmed by the potential of working the Canadian fields white for harvest.