Today launches a new multi-faceted conversation.
It’s a discussion about how we live our lives as Christ-followers and how we invite others to join the journey. Pouring my experience and research into 193 pages, I worked with InterVarsity Press to publish a new book on missions and the church.
Now available through Amazon, InterVarsity Press, Barnes & Noble, and more, Mapping Church Missions walks through seven key issues needed to establish an effective and sustainable missions strategy. Through engaging stories and important foundational knowledge, it equips us (both as individuals and churches) to serve with purpose.
Who or Where To Serve?
Spiritual and material needs abound. Billions of people do not yet know Jesus, many have never even heard His name. Whole nations struggle under oppressive poverty and corrupt leadership. Acre after acre of creation cry out from pollution and pillaging of resources.
We learn about the crises in families every day. I read an article recently about refugee families and their needs as they adapt into a new culture. My neighbor has a cousin in one of the flooded towns in North Carolina. She and other victims of Hurricane Florence are in desperate need of emergency provisions.
The police raided a home not ten miles from my house and rescued three girls from a sex trafficking ring. Impoverished children go home on Fridays and have not breakfast nor lunch…less than five miles from my home. People are lonely.
Where is the Lord calling me and my church to engage? Share the gospel message. Absolutely. But also… who will care for people struggling with HIV and AIDS? What about global literacy? Without the ability to read, poverty is entrenched whether the child is in subsidized housing down the street or in the slums of Guatemala City. What about human trafficking in southeast Asia or bonded labor in India? How do we respond?
To Be Intentional
Whether an individual disciple or a church body, we want to serve God’s kingdom with purpose. As we seek our calling, we tend to look among what we know. The breadth and possibilities of missions, however, has changed over the years. Most of us have not considered the many possibilities now available to share the gospel message and to bring reconciliation into the world.
As believers, our mandate is to finish the task of telling all people in all nations about the good news of Jesus Christ. He commissioned His followers – then and through the present age – to go and make disciples. Through the strength and gift of His Holy Spirit, Jesus commanded us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love one another. He established His church as the means to fulfill this immense task. We are His hands and feet among the nations.
But how do we choose among the many well-intentioned options?
Mapping Church Missions delves deeply into seven contentious issues. Conversations include local versus global work, evangelism and benevolence, crisis response and accountability, need for financial donations or volunteer hours, the value of short-term mission teams, role of discipleship, and the matter of risk.
The mission work of the church emerges in a variety of expressions. We share the gospel, plant churches, care for orphans, teach Bible Stories, repair homes, donate food for the hungry, and more.
God is indeed at work all around us.
We, therefore, remain ever-prayerful to seek His prompting for each step. I wrote Mapping Church Missions to create a compass for our kingdom journey. Pause after each chapter to determine your place on the continuum. By the final chapter, you will discover your ministry strategy.
For more information about Mapping Church Missions, including a free download of the Introduction and Chapter 1, click HERE.
Posted by Sharon R. Hoover