Global Missions Update - July 2023

Global Missions Update - July 2023

Global Missions in the Local Church
“Missions” is a churchy word, and in a church like ours, you might have twenty different conceptions of missions in the same worship service. Simply put, missions is our strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission. At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” There is a dozen sermons’ worth of things to unpack here, but the core unmissable message is this: part of being a follower of Christ is taking the gospel to all peoples – to the ends of the earth.

This commission forms part of our marching orders as a church. Individually and collectively, we are working to make sure that we do everything we can to take the gospel to all people. That starts in Carlton Landing, extends out into Eufaula, Longtown, and the surrounding areas, and extends to the last pockets of the planet where people have not heard the gospel.

As a church, we take this responsibility seriously, and as elders, we spend a good amount of our time talking and praying about how God has called our church specifically to steward what we have to fulfill the Great Commission. For this reason, we set aside 10% of our giving each year for local missions and 10% for global missions. Getting the gospel out, making disciples, and taking the message of God’s saving grace to the remaining unreached people groups of the world is a big deal to us.

What Is Global Missions?
From a global perspective, the great missions’ crisis is that there are around 1700 people groups that are considered “unreached.” This means groups of 5,000 or more people who have never heard the gospel and have no access to the gospel. There are millions of people who are reached but unevangelized – and that is a great challenge in itself – but there is also this group of unreached people who are unreached, without a plan to be reached.

But something is happening now that has never happened before in human history. Several missions’ organizations are teaming up to reach these 1,700 groups and it is possible that every unreached group will be reached in our lifetimes. We could live to see the last group reached with the gospel in the next 30 years. Again, this is just the beginning of our work, but it would be an incredible milestone in the history of the church; every person on the planet has at least access to the gospel.

How Can We Be a Part of It?
Since I came to CLCC, it’s been on my heart that we would be a part of reaching the lost, specifically that our church would stand up and commit to reaching one of these groups. This Sunday we had Jim Bliffin in from Pioneer Bible Translators. After church, a few couples stayed to hear Jim talk about some of the new projects PBT is undertaking and the possibility of our church partnering with them. One of the things I love about PBT is their holistic approach to reaching people. They don’t focus just on sending a missionary or just sending a translator; they conceive of the project from the first contact to a New Testament or a full Bible in the group’s heart language. That’s what we want to be a part of!

As a church, we could take an unreached group of people and start funding the project. We would begin with a missionary family, build a relationship, get them trained, and send them out. Then we would support them, pray for them, get updates, send teams to help, and throw ourselves behind their efforts. When the time is right, PBT will match us up with a translator – sometimes this can be a native speaker who has come to Christ, other times a new person will go and join the team, and sometimes the missionary has language training – and we will support the team as they develop an alphabet, teach the people to read, and translate the Bible.

This is not usually a short process, but it is getting faster. Projects like this used to take 30-40 years. Now they can often be done in 7-10 years. In a decade, we could see one of these groups go from totally unreached with the gospel to having a New Testament, a written language, Bible training classes, and possibly a church in their mother tongue. How can we pass that up?
In 30 years, when the last groups are reached with the news of what God has done through Jesus Christ, we could look back and say that we played a role in global evangelization. Partnered with churches around the world, we took the gospel to one of those 1,700 groups. Someday in Heaven, we might be able to meet people who heard the gospel and believed because as a church we decided to prioritize global missions.

What Can I Do?
The first thing to do is to continue to pray. We’re still asking God to make it clear how to partner, who to partner with, and what group of people he might have for us. This can be as simple as asking God to put a region of the planet on your heart. In your daily or weekly prayer time, add a few minutes to pray for those people who have never heard the name of Jesus. God will kindle a fire for missions in your heart as you do.  

Second, continue to give. Our strategy for long-term consistency is to give out of our general tithes and offerings. There may be times when we do a special offering for missions, but in the meantime, we are committed to stewarding what we have for local and global missions over time. As you give to our church, know that you are giving to missions.

Third, continue to grow in your love for God and pursuit of Christ. Missions is an ordinary extension of our faith in Christ. It is impossible to be growing in our faith and not be attuned to the Great Commission.

On Sunday, we began our service reading Psalm 67 together. It is one of the great missions passages in the Bible, capturing the relationship between our growth as believers and our commitment to spreading the Gospel.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
And make his face to shine upon us,
That your way may be known on earth,
Your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
Let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
For you judge the peoples with equity
And guide the nations on earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
Let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
Let all the ends of the earth fear him!

-Pastor Cole

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