It was a blessed day that Larry and Helen Deason left their home in Texas in the 1960s to be missionaries in New Zealand. Larry met and taught Peter Craig the gospel and, praise God, baptised him. In turn, Peter Craig taught me the gospel and baptised me into Christ on the seventh day of the seventh month of 1977 (another blessed day). That was the greatest day of my life. From childhood I had no doubts about the existence of God, however, it took men – who taught other men – to teach me about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Christians share the gospel in the normal course of life: family to family, neighbour to neighbour, friend to friend, and stranger to stranger. All with the sole purpose of saving souls. Our congregations stand as testimonies to the love of God. The dedicated sharing the love of Christ through word and deed. Giving of resources in the form of talents and the daily needs of life. Being kept together by the rhythm of meetings that are filled with teaching, preaching, praying, singing, communion, giving, and fellowship over meals.
The local church is living and powerful. Forever aware of the need for spiritual health. A place where disciples look out for each other. But we must look up, too! To a lost and dying world beyond our walls. The gospel must go abroad. Missionaries must be sent. We must send, or better still, we must go! The goal is simple: Start congregations by winning souls to Christ. Most of us may be shocked to have someone suggest that we are serving God in the wrong place. The thought of picking up our lives and moving to another country and adjusting to another culture is off the table for most of us—and maybe it should be! If you never want to be a missionary, skip the next sentence. It is a prayer: “Lord, put me where you want me to be.” Too late, I guess! But if that is your genuine prayer, buckle your seatbelt, nothing will ever be the same; whether you stay or go.
Missionary work, Biblically speaking, is a church-family work. Paul said, “For “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-14). It takes a deliberate plan to send preachers to other places. This requires love for the lost, faith in the cross, hope anchored deep, prayer for wisdom, money to live, and a lot of encouragement to endure the resistance of Satan. We are sending them ‘as sheep among wolves.’ The Lord’s church owes an eternal debt to these frontline soldiers of the cross. May their tribe increase. So, if you can’t go, send…! The Evangelistic formula remains the same for all of us: “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1Corinthians 3:7).