When it comes to missions, unfortunately, many churches practice without strategy. Even scarier than not having a strategy is not having the right strategy. There are many possible strategies, some healthy and some not. Warren Wiersbe says, "Ministry is not done by imitation but by incarnation" (see Phil. 1:6). The best strategy would obviously be a biblical strategy, and I love using Acts 1:8 as ours for Cross Church. It says, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
As a pastor, when you are setting a missions strategy, you should ask yourself, "What is God doing in and through me as pastor, and our church, to fulfill Acts 1:8?"
Here are four things an Acts 1:8 missions strategy can do for your church.
1. Bring focus: Pastor, don't just throw spiritual darts at a map to select where or what your church will do in missions. It is a key responsibility of the pastor to set missional focus for your church. Use Acts 1:8 to bring that focus. Acts 1:8 does not move on tracks like a train, with whistle stops along the way in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the world. It moves like the sweeping hands of a clock, never-ending and with continuous movement. I love the thought that I can connect Jerusalem, or local, missions to the ends of the world. Focus on how your missions strategy can connect local missions to unreached peoples around the world. Begin reaching the nations in your own back yard to learn about their culture and language. Then you will be equipped to travel to their nation more effectively and with great focus.
2. Prioritize the focus: Start with local missions, then move to regional, national and international. I have said for years, at Cross Church, we will not forsake northwest Arkansas on the altar of the world when it comes to missions. I believe we earn the right to go abroad. Pastors, let's make sure we are getting it done in our own communities equal to our efforts abroad. It is a tragic thought to think we have thousands of churches in America that aren't reaching and baptizing people in their own churches but will buy plane tickets to go overseas to share the gospel.
3. Empower the people: Jesus said, "You shall receive power." When we have a biblical strategy, it actually empowers people to be involved personally in your church's missional vision. I want to see as many people as possible empowered to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. When we communicate clear, biblical strategy, it is amazing how many people feel empowered to get personally involved. When our people are empowered missionally, they will begin to live and believe "I am Acts 1:8."
4. Honor Jesus and the Holy Scripture: "be My witnesses." The emphasis (mine added) on "my." Wow, what a thought. I can be a witness of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ beginning in my local community, extending to the ends of the earth. Now, that honors Jesus and His Holy Word. There is nothing that brings more honor to Jesus and His Holy Scripture than when people are led to place their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. When we, as believers, practice being a witness for Jesus Christ, we can almost hear a proud Father say, "they are My witnesses, and wow, I am honored!"
Pastor, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I bring focus in my church's missional strategy?
- Do I prioritize our church's missional strategy?
- Do I empower my church members to fulfill the church's missional strategy?
- How much honor is being brought to Jesus and the Holy Scripture through my church's missional strategy?
I would love to help you or your church in any way I can. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-751-4523.
Doug Sarver is minister of Global Missions at Cross Church.
This article originally appeared at ronniefloyd.com.
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