The Local Church and Pioneer Missions (Part 3)

 Such a Time as This

            In 1 Corinthians 10:11 we are told that the history of the Old Testament was written as an example for us. When we compare the history of Israel with that of the Church we are given great insight into the times in which we live. We will come to understand that the coming of Christ is near, and that we have a role to play in speeding his return.

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The Local Church and Pioneer Missions (Part 2)

 All Nations

            I am firmly convinced that local churches who have taken the Lord’s Great Commission (summed up in the words win, build and send) as their daily marching orders are uniquely equipped to bear fruit in the unreached nations of the world. I am also certain that congregations who have seen the wisdom of this simple vision by walking in it will not stray far from it, and that fact will ensure our fruitfulness. It is not in the realm of getting off course that such churches have the potential for missing our destiny, but in not recognizing the scope of the Great Commission. These congregations are firmly rooted in the labor of that commission, but we must pay attention to the territory where that labor is to be spent as well. We are to “go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He has commanded us.”
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The Local Church and Pioneer Missions (Part 1)

In this three part series of posts we will look at the task and the scope of the Great Commission. Special attention will be paid to the role of local churches in fulfilling that commission. These posts were originally written for the fellowship of churches I am a part of. I have attempted to adjust them in order to make them applicable to all local churches that are involved in radical evangelism, personal discipleship and church planting. I am afraid that I was not able make successfully expand all of the examples, so some of them will only apply to a small percentage of local churches. But I think the posts are food for thought nonetheless, so I have decided to post them anyway. I hope they help spur you and your church towards fulfilling the Great Commission.

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Defining Missions – A Tibetan Testimony (Illustrating the 10/40 Window)

I had spent the summer of 1995 in Hong Kong smuggling Bibles and other teaching materials across the Chinese border where they were placed in the hands of the Chinese underground Church. From that time on I made a determined effort to finish my schooling as soon as possible so I could return to China as a missionary. By January 1998 I had finished my career as a student and was ready to begin life on the mission field. During this season in my life I was not closely connected with any church but had joined a mission organization based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through this organization I received some basic orientation about living in China and a position as an English teacher in a Chinese university in southwest China. I arrived in the city of Chongqing only one month after graduating college at the ripe old age of 21.

During the year and a half that I lived in Chongqing I learned Chinese while teaching English at the university. Being young and single I didn’t require much in terms of support. My position as a teacher provided me with $175 a month and an apartment to live in. I should note that when someone does overseas ministry through a mission organization, that organization doesn’t generally provide any support. In fact one must pay the organization for the services it provides such as training and counsel. Since I wasn’t closely connected with any church this $175 was my monthly lot while I lived in Chongqing. Since I was young, and my daily expenses consisted of only a few simple meals, plus the added luxuries of an occasional can of Coca-Cola and a package of Oreo cookies, I got along just fine!

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Defining Missions – Where are the Unreached?

In the previous couple posts we began talking about unreached people groups. We tried to demonstrate that these groups have a distinct urgency in the mission that the Church is called to fulfill. This urgency stems from the fact that they have not heard the Gospel, and unless they are intentionally targeted by the Church of Jesus Christ they never will. This dire condition gives them a special place in the heart of God. These are the lost sheep of the Lord’s parable. God surely cares for the ninety-nine sheep that have access to the green grass of the Gospel. He surely wants His people to “care for His sheep” and “feed His lambs.” Domestic and foreign missions must never be put on the back burner or considered something less important than pioneer missions, but the Lord has made clear to us that He feels a special urgency for His lost sheep that have no access to the Gospel. In this post we want to discuss the “highways and byways” in which these lost sheep find themselves. We want to ask the question, “Where are these lost sheep?” We are not now discussing the condition of the world’s unreached peoples, but we want to focus on the territories and countries in which they reside.
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Defining Missions – Where is the Mission Field?

What is mission work? It seems almost too elementary to ask such a question. But when we really look at it, the answer is not what we would expect to find. I think we would all agree that we want our definition of “mission work” to be a biblical one. So let’s consider the common understanding of this subject in light of its biblical origin and see if it stands the test.

We usually define missions as doing Christian work in a foreign country. This is the common understanding of the word in most Christian circles. According to this definition anyone who buys an international plane ticket and travels to a foreign land to do some sort of Christian outreach is involved in mission work. If we take an outreach team from Dallas to Indonesia, or a team to Mexico from San Diego, that also fits under the category of “missions.” We could also say that if someone from Canada moves to Africa, India or the United States of America to do Gospel work, they are involved in missionary outreach. This common definition is basically correct and all the examples we just mentioned deserve to be called mission work. But according to biblical standards it is too limited.
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