Being good Southern Baptist we often pride ourselves on having the greatest method of getting the Gospel around the world through the Cooperative Program. This program consists of world missions, North American missions, state missions, and a host of other mission outreaches. The funds collected “cooperatively” from the Southern Baptist churches allows these missionaries to go into the mission field and stay without carrying the burden of having to raise support. This is a beautiful thing.
However, we tend to naively congratulate ourselves in this world mission effort. The SBC has done an incredible work in taking our tithes to expand the Gospel around the world, but if all we do is tithe, can we really say we have played a part in world missions? Don’t get me wrong, your obedience to God through tithing is reason to celebrate, but it does not give you a pass on being a missionary where you are.
Jesus said, “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus instructed us to start where we are. Here are a couple of tough questions for us to answer, “Can I name five people that live on the block around my church?” “Do I know the spiritual condition of five families in my neighborhood?” Based on your answers, how are you doing in reaching your Jerusalem?
I don’t say this to beat you up but to get you to think about the mission of your church (God’s church where you have committed to serve Him) in the community that God placed it and the community He has placed you.
I love to read the stories in Acts about the early church and how they functioned. “They devoted themselves to the apostles teachings...All believers were together and had everything in common...Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need...there were no needy persons among them...they gathered for the daily distribution of bread.” The church was involved in their community. Meeting the needs of the broken; financially broken, physically broken, emotionally broken and spiritually broken.
Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me…”Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we do this?” The King replied, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.”
Let’s begin praying and seeking God about how He wants to use His church in our community.