April 2017

The Local Church and Missions

In recent decades, leaders of world-outreaches throughout the United States have reevaluated the way they ‘do’ missions. Amid discussion and a great amount of prayer a biblical organizing principle became visible again. In regard to missionary support, many denominations and independent ministerial fellowships have returned to a scriptural base and have dispensed with “official” procedures of selecting and appointing missionaries. The reason for the change should not go without notice. The action removes the burden of ever-increasing budgetary concerns. In addition, several Spirit-filled organizations presently want to avoid being placed in the position of informing eager persons that they are not qualified or suitable candidates for missionary service, when in fact these individuals believe they are called by God to go, who may very well be of great use to God in his Kingdom.

The obvious antidote to the development of a pompous attitude within a missionary selection committee is to nurture an atmosphere in which pastoral officers can cultivate and equip ministries under their care. The local church is the most practical place for training and for sending forth missionaries into the world. This template is the one Bible readers will find in scripture (see Acts 13:1-4). The role a perceptive pastor plays in identifying gifted persons in his or her congregation, who then labors on their behalf to secure their funding as they venture to the uttermost parts of the earth, should not be underemphasized.

Let us not forget that the word “go” comprises 2/3rds of the word “GOD”. Going is fundamental to being godly. Yet there needs to be a place from which a missionary-evangelist is sent. Antioch and Jerusalem are representative types. From those two cities/villages multitudes in nearby and far-away districts learned powerful principles of the Gospel as believers were scattered because of persecution and through their desires to fulfill The Great Commission. Similarly local churches today form the bases of operations for contemporary outreaches.

What then is the role of WMF missions? Understandably, all local churches do not make missions a priority and all are not suited to widening the horizons of some of their parishioners. So our role first and foremost is to facilitate some of the work in which our members would like to engage and to support projects already underway. Helping individuals who perceive that they have a call on their life to prepare to do the work of the ministry is of utmost importance. Much can be done through simple discipleship, by means of one-on-one contact. Undesignated funds given to the office are monetary tools for reinforcing the vision of the Director of International Missions, whose desire is to bless ministers who occasionally go abroad to fields of service and to strengthen those workers (native and non-native) now residing in the field.

Numerous ministries are linked to World Ministry Fellowship. Across the earth the power of the Gospel is faithfully preached by our people. The newsletters and testimonies which find their way into my inbox each month are encouraging. Sinners are surrendering to Jesus, supernatural healings manifest across the nation and around the world, and the craving new believers have to be filled with the Holy Ghost is heartening. God is on the move! The Executive Board and the personnel directing the main office covet your prayers. Over the next 60 days a review of our current fiscal support system for missionaries and evangelists will be conducted. The desire is to update the manner in which ministries are especially selected for short and for long-term support.

Meanwhile, this month too includes five Sundays, and we pray that the Lord would touch your hearts to remember WMF missions in your 5th Sunday missions’ offerings. The harvest before us is great; but the work is ongoing. Recently I preached a Missions and Prophecy conference on the Nebraska/South Dakota border in which the glory of the Lord fell in a Saturday night service. Hungry hearts, tear-filled eyes and contrition burst forth once again like rays of sunlight at daybreak. Such are a few characteristics in a meeting where Christ comes and lays his nail-scarred hands on broken spirits and mends them one by one. Folks, it’s a great day to be alive, if you are alive. Be encouraged, things are looking up, and may God bless all of you, our WMF ministers, and cause his face to smile upon all your endeavors!

Darrell Sutton - International Missions Director

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