by Jon Konnerup
Since the time of William Carey, the focal point of modern missions has centered around the local church and the missionary. God ordained the church as the organism to advance the Gospel around the world. In Acts 13, God gives a clear example of the Antioch church sending out those that were “set apart” to represent them in fulfilling the Great Commission to the uttermost parts of the earth.
As a Fellowship of churches, the BBFI has this same commitment of sending missionaries globally. Currently, we have missionaries, sent by local churches, serving in 90 different countries. The biblical mandate to send out missionaries cannot and must not be abandoned. In my foreign travels each year, people who have been led to the Lord through the ministry of our missionaries express their gratitude for those who preach, teach, mentor, and exemplify the life of Christ before them. On many occasions they have stated, “Watching them live the life of Christ before us on a daily basis through good times and difficult times is what encourages us the most. We need them here!”
In order for a church-planting movement to happen, we must have career missionaries on the ground. Romans 10:14-15 gives us an explanation on how it is to be done and why.
- There must be people in our churches with as great a concern for the lost as Jesus had — people who will allow their burden to grow as they pray and research what God is doing around the world.
- Once people see the need to share the Gospel with those who have not heard, they avail themselves to God by surrendering to go.
- Upon arrival, they learn the language and culture and follow Paul’s example — preach repentance and the Gospel of salvation by faith. While God’s Word may be in another language, people in spiritual darkness need to hear the Gospel story in their heart language. This can only be communicated by someone who has lived among them and gained their confidence.
- A place of worship is established where new believers can meet to study God’s Word. Mentoring these new disciples is best accomplished by living among them and experiencing the rigors of life with them over an extended time. A successful church planting movement can only happen when disciples are multiplied. Paul lived out the vision through his public preaching as well as from house to house. He also showed them how to be shepherds while building them up with the Word of God’s grace.
Next month I will conclude my thoughts on what it will take to have a worldwide church-planting movement.