As the New Testament unfolds, the early church began to experience growth due to the travels of those who called themselves Christ-followers. Persecution, troubles, pressures from communities and local leaders all contributed to the departure of these followers to lands they did not know and cultures they had yet to learn. Paul shows us a clear picture of the spread of the Gospel as he traveled with friends and fellow workers into various regions and cultures. This intentional movement of the Gospel was due to the commitment of a few to carry the truth of the Gospel to every location known to man.
Yet, these travels were not anchored in permanent uprooting and long-term missionary terms in foreign lands. The primary growth of the church was accomplished through what is called an apostolic method of church planting! Paul, visited new communities and searched for men and women of peace upon whom the Gospel settled. He then invested time and energy into teaching them the truths of the Gospel and developing a disciple-maker of those he encountered. He then led them to become the leaders and teachers of these local gatherings of Christ-followers. And once the process was begun, Paul moved on to another "short-term" assignment.
I believe the Lord today is asking for many of us to re-commit ourselves to this process of going for Him into communities with the whole truth of the Gospel and searching for those upon whom the Gospel settles. He then desires us to teach and make disciple-makers of those new followers of Christ. Then we, as Paul move on to the next assignment. And in the midst of this process we trust that the Father will call out from among us some who will give their lives long-term for these communities and people groups. We listen to the Lord and support those whom He calls out to spend more time and follow the planting with nurturing and teaching and growing!
This concept is a bit different than the average plan for a short-term mission experience these days. Why? I believe so much of our focus has become humanitarian in nature that we've lost our passion for searching for men and women of peace and then teaching the Word! In short the church as a whole has lost the passion for the lost and in turn we have focused our attention on physical poverty and how to best serve our hurting world with aid! These needs are real and things like food and clothing are necessities that everyone needs all over the world. These will also come to those who need them as the church addresses its primary responsibility of sharing and showing the Gospel. Out of a genuine concern for others, our lives will look more like Jesus and therefore we will care for people like He did. This will happen because we spend time in the presence of the Father allowing Him to warm our hearts and burn with passion to naturally share the truth of the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with in every occasion of life! Evangelism then will be a natural thing in every believers life both in the home community where we are planted and in the short-term experience as we seek to spread the Gospel and plant the Truth in every community on the planet!
Long-term physical poverty alleviation will only be a result of community change from a heart for God and a passion for the lost. Our mission as the church traveling to various communities around the world must be focused on spiritual poverty first and with great passion. Today the Lord is asking us all, "Who will go for us?" As Isaiah responded to the call of God to go to the people with His truth, we all need to respond with those same words...Here am I, send me!
Lets go into all the world with this amazing truth that Jesus died for sinners, was buried and was raised again to bring life to all who seek Him! Will you join me and saying to the Lord today, yes I will go! I will go across the street...across the state...across the country...across the globe! Yes, Lord I will join the Gospel movement and share the truth of your Word with this even and women of peace and seek to help the church take root in every community I am given the opportunity to walk through! Yes...I will GO!
In His Grip,