Why a Mission Emphasis Weekend?
As I was growing up, my family attended a church that was a part of the Christan and Missionary Alliance Denomination. Every year, we had a “Missions Conference;” a four-day event where we would have one or two missionaries come and tell us about how they were telling people about Jesus in other countries. I have many fond memories of these mission conferences. Like the time when I was around 7 or 8 when a lady missionary came, taught the kids Sunday school class, asked the class a question, I answered the question correctly and she gave me a giant black seed from a tree in Africa. Or another time, when the missionary was demonstrating how to use a blow gun to hunt and almost hitting the pastor’s wife with a dart. I love hearing the stories of how God was working in these faraway lands, where people have little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus.
Now as a pastor I get convicted every time I see pictures of believers who gather in places that do not have all the “sophisticated” things our churches in America have; people gather under trees, in buildings that have dirt floors, people sit in plastic chairs when they gather as the body of Christ. I realize that in some ways, I have made some great generalizations because not all places around the world gather like that, but I am convicted by the fact that what we think a “church” should be like in our culture, is totally different in many places around the world.
Things have changed in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, where now we have a Mission Emphasis weekend. Where we no longer call the workers "missionaries," but "international workers." Yet the reason behind this event remains the same: to share how God is working around the world, through our Alliance workers, so that we, their US Alliance Family, can join their team by providing both financial and prayer support. God has led these international workers to serve Him overseas, just as God has led you and I to serve Him here in America and we, the US Alliance Family, send them to these countries with our support. The main objective in all of this is what Jesus commands His followers to do in Matthew 28:16-20, which was to make disciples of all nations. We, who are living in America, are to make disciples here. Those whom God has led to live overseas are to make disciples there.
God is at work and when we gather for these special weekends and hear firsthand accounts of how God is working in this nation or that nation, it reminds us that God is calling people of all nations to Himself. God is still working and people all around the world are putting their hope and trust in Him. As we gather this weekend (May 7 at 5:00 pm and May 8 at 9:30 am and 10:45 am) for our mission emphasis weekend may we come with excitement as we hear how God is at work in Indonesia. May we also be encouraged by the fact that God can do the same and is at work in our community as well.