My eyesight is such that I must wear glasses for distance, and for reading. It's a signal that I'm getting older. And it is a confirmation of what Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 4:16 when he says that outwardly we are wasting away.
So when I have my eyesight tested, I can expect that a new prescription will be necessary. And that means I will have to buy new eyeglasses. My Dutch heritage kicks in and I hunt for the most reasonable option.
Now, we have used an online sunglasses retailer in the past for my glasses. I ordered them with progressive lenses. Progressive lenses are like bifocals. This means I can read through the bottom part of the lens and see distant things through the top part of the same lens. They worked well, but I was always moving my head up and down, trying to find that sweet spot.
But I made a discovery. I realized that two single-vision eyeglasses were cheaper than one with progressive lenses.
Again, the Dutch kicked in, and I opted for the cheaper option; two pair of single vision eyeglasses.
They arrived in the mail and were exactly as I ordered. This is perfect. I thought. That is until I actually tried to see with them on under normal use. The glasses for distance worked well when I was looking into the distance, say from ten feet and beyond. And the glasses for reading worked well for reading. But the middle distance, between 18 inches, and 10 feet, was a blurry mess.
What I failed to take into account was progressive lenses are good for that middle distance as well. The profile of the lens provides vision improvement at any distance.
The two pair model that I had adopted left a big blind spot. It was a vision fail.
It struck me that this can be the case for congregations and missions as well.
Here is what I believe. Many congregations wear only their near-neighbour glasses. They don't see the need for cross-cultural work among the nations. This 'missions near-sightedness' does not take into account God's heart for the nations.
There are so many scriptures (hundreds) that speak of God's global purpose. That global purpose is that the nations know and worship Him.
Joshua 4:23-24 tells us why God dried up the Jordan River and the Red Sea. It was so that all peoples (nations) would know that God's hand is mighty.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 reveals why God caused David to defeat Goliath. It was so that all the earth (nations) would know that there is a God in Israel.
Psalm 2:8 tells us that the nations are the heritage of God's son, and the ends of the earth are his possession.
Isaiah 49:6 lets us know the extent to which God intends to impact the world. He went beyond the nation of Israel to become a light to the nations. And it was so that His salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Of course, Matthew 28:19 tells us to make disciples of all nations.
Romans 15:12 shows Paul's understanding of Isaiah his message. He understood that the Gentiles, (nations) would also find their hope in Jesus.
Romans 15:20 Here Paul tells of his heartbeat for the nations. His aim is not to preach the gospel where Christ has already been named. His aim is to preach the gospel where He is unknown and inaccessible. That's why he was going to Spain.
Galatians 3:8 makes it clear that the blessing of the nations with the gospel is what Abraham was told about in Genesis chapter 12:1-3.
And then in Revelation 7:9-10 we are given a glimpse of the fulfilment of God's global purpose. It is a vast multitude of worshippers from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation.
I believe a congregational ministry strategy must include near-neighbour evangelism and faraway cross-cultural missions. Your discipleship should include both as well. They should be a regular part of the congregational diet.
OMS Canada would love to discuss a mission’s strategy with you. We would love to know what you are doing well and where you think you could improve.
And we are able to facilitate a strategy development process with your mission’s committee or leadership team.
So how is your church doing? Not sure? Let us send you an assessment tool to help you figure out where you are right now. Because a strategy is like a roadmap. You must know where you want to go and you must know where you are right now. We can help.
Feel free to contact us here.
Between Christmas and New Year OMS Canada placed a booth at the P2C Plus conference in Toronto. This is an annual event for the ministry to college and university students formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. It is now known as Power to Change. At this event were a little more than 300 students from across Canada who were willing to give up a portion of their Christmas break to participate in a conference that featured main sessions and breakout sessions, all of which challenged these students to take seriously their call to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
It was very encouraging to see so many students on fire for Jesus Christ and who are considering how discipleship should and must touch every area of their life.
A part of OMS Canada’s participation in this event was the sponsoring of wifi access for conference participants. The password for the free wifi was OMSInternational. And, being millennials, every one of those students would have typed in the password at least once. So the OMS name is now known among this group.
Free access to wifi can also be a picture of access to the Gospel. We all need access to the Father and Creator of us all. Such access is not possible without righteousness, which we can neither create nor purchase. We are totally reliant on the goodwill provision of another to provide that access.
In the same way that OMS Canada provided free access to conference participants, Jesus Christ offers righteousness to those who require it.
But, if the conference participants never knew that wifi was available, or if they knew it was available but did not know the password, they could not access the free resource.
In just the same way, an unreached people who does not know that righteousness is available, or if it does not know how to access that righteousness, then they would die in their sins.
As Paul says in Romans 10:13-15, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
In an unreached people group, the need is for someone to go and serve as a gospel hotspot, someone who will provide the access to God’s Gospel network to a people who do not know such a network exists.
This is our purpose, to find people who are willing to be a Gospel Hotspot, providing access to the Gospel where there is no access.
OMS Canada is looking for 20 new missionaries by the end of this year. This is our 20/20 Vision. Will you become a partner with us? Our most effective tool to accomplish this vision is prayer. And I am asking you to become a prayer warrior with me.
In Matthew 9, Jesus looked out on the crowds and had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He then told his disciples (and you and me) to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more labourers into the harvest. In terms of recruitment, that is our main task, our main responsibility. To pray for more labourers.
If we are to have this vision fulfilled this year, it will be because God’s people prayed it to fulfillment. Join me in praying everyday for more labourers.
Give me a call or send me an email to let me know that you will pray with me:
Mark Kroes, Executive Director
Do you know that God loves you? He took such great care in creating you and He delights in you. What about missions? What is the connection between God’s love and missions?
God loved the world so much that He sent His Only Son to us. This is a great demonstration of God’s love for missions. God loves missions. We must also love missions.
Jesus had the greatest mission here on earth. It was all about sharing the Good News to all people regardless of race, social status, etc.
Let’s look at a few verses in the Bible to learn more about God’s love for missions:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
This is the greatest expression of Love. It’s pure, unconditional, eternal, and so much more. There was a great purpose for God sending Jesus and it was us that He had in mind all along. What an amazing love that truly is.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
When Jesus died for us, it wasn’t because we are perfect and have it all together. It was the opposite- we are imperfect and don’t have it all together and we need to continuously be renewed and transformed on a daily basis.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
When people are lost, they need direction, guidance, clarity, perspective, and purpose. They also need love. The kind of love that only comes from God. A love that is non-judgmental, that has no barriers. By the power and the working of the Holy Spirit, we are able to show this love to those who have yet to hear or answer.
Jesus left us with a mission to reach those people. There is work to be done. A lot of work.
But with God, all things are possible and we just need to be willing and obedient. God loves people, and God loves missions because there are people that have yet to hear about His wonderful love and salvation.
What can I do?
This is a great question to ask ourselves and it’s one we must ask. Maybe you aren’t able to go on a Missions trip, but there are different ways you can help support Missions. Prayer, finances, and resources are some examples of how you can help. There is a lot you and I can do.
Consider making a donation to one of our missionaries or projects. Click here to learn about the various giving opportunities that we have at OMS Canada.
May God bless you as you step out in faith.
Four Myths That Keep Your Church From Having a Missions Strategy
Having a clear church missions strategy leads to more meaningful and effective ministry. So why don’t more churches have one?
I read of a survey from Gordon Colwell Theological Seminary that suggested that 40 percent of evangelical churches in America don’t have a written strategy guiding their missions work. These figures are not likely very different in Canada.
The survey also suggested that the 60 percent of churches that do have a written strategy are markedly more engaged in cross-cultural international work than those who do not have a written strategy. This should not surprise us. A vision does not always spark action, but it is still true that action nearly always follows vision.
If you need help developing a mission strategy, contact OMS Canada to investigate the possibility of a facilitated Strategy Planning for your church.
However, before you get there, it is worth pausing to think about four common myths that often keep churches from developing missions strategies. These are sometimes unstated myths, but whether you have heard them or not, chances are we’ve all believed some of these at one point.
1.“We don’t need a strategy”
The thinking here tends to be that “we’re just following Jesus,” so we can forgo written strategies and formal plans.
That doesn’t really work for a lot of reasons, such as the following.
It’s certainly true that our strategies must remain subservient to and flow from the ultimate strategies and examples in Scripture, but that doesn’t free us from the responsibility to bring that strategy to bear on our communities and the world. And that necessarily requires forethought.
A missions strategy is really nothing more than a plan, and the simple fact of that matter is that very few of us can accomplish complex tasks without first making a plan. It’s just how God wired us.
I can remember to get dressed and brush my teeth in the morning, but completing a project at work forces me to sit down and figure out how I’ll get it done. Engaging the lost world around you is much more complex than brushing your teeth, so there is no shame in planning how you’ll go about it.
Planning isn’t evidence of a lack of faith or an unwillingness to follow the Spirit’s leading; it’s the simple admission that we are fickle and easily distracted people, and that we will be far more faithful to God’s leading if we commit ourselves to a course of action before distraction takes us off track.
2.“We don’t have a vision”
This myth tends to pop up in churches that still believe cross-cultural missions falls inextricably under the expertise of mission agencies, while local churches are best equipped to do other things. Tasks like missionary assessment, preparation, training, accountability and care sometimes feel like things best left to the “experts,” so the local church takes a step back.
While it is true that a good mission agency can provide critical support to a church’s missionary-sending activity, it is untrue that cross-cultural missions is a mysterious world that the local church knows nothing about. Culture and language change from place to place, but God, His world and the human heart are the same wherever you go. This means that principles for good local ministry will generally translate internationally.
Chances are you have a sense of how God has called and equipped your church to minister in your community, which has in turn shaped a core part of your church’s identity.
That activity and identity don’t need to be set aside when you think about how to minister internationally. Instead, start by asking the question, “How has God equipped us to reach His world?” Then prayerfully consider what that means for your international engagement as well.
3.“We’re too small, too new or too poor”
This idea is usually connected to the notion that “We’ll do that when we’re bigger, more established or have more resources.” Together, these beliefs keep us from seeing what God has called us to today by convincing us that it will be easier to follow Him tomorrow.
Of course, it is true that investing ourselves intentionally requires selectivity, or saying “no” to some things so that we can say “yes” to others. But, if we make our selections today based on the belief that we will be fundamentally different people tomorrow, we are letting our strategy be hijacked by a very clever lie.
The notion that a congregation’s missions calling somehow depends on its size, experience or resources is rooted in the mistaken belief that God’s people are more limited by these things than they are empowered by the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
In fact, our vision and strategy should boldly flow from God’s character and activity, rather than being tentatively sketched based on what our timid hearts can grasp right now.
4.“There’s so much to do here” or “We’re called to local ministry”
This is based on the mistaken beliefs that there is no difference between local and cross-cultural, that it is all missions. But, as Stephen Neill has stated, “If everything is missions, then nothing is missions.” The quite clear teaching of Scripture points over and over again to the heart of God for the nations (people groups) and His purpose to have every people, tongue, tribe, and nation present around the throne (Revelation 7:9).
The mandate to the church is Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria and the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Furthermore, it is far more possible today for North American churches to learn from and minister alongside majority world churches. The possibilities for learning and engagement are endless, but we need a strategy to direct our attention.
However, rather than writing off local ministry for the sake of global ministry (or vice-versa) a wise missions strategy will try to bring the two areas together. It will force you to look for areas of expertise in your local ministry that can be put to use around the world. It will cause you to think about the relationships that you have around the world and make connections that could improve your local ministry.
It is one thing to individually become a global Christian, but a church missions strategy will start your congregation down the path to becoming a truly global Christian community that is open to, engaged in and learning from what God is doing around the world.
So what about you? Does your church have a missions strategy? If so, does the congregation know what the strategy is? If not, why not? Can we help your leaders think through this strategy question?
We are ready to help in any way possible, no strings attached and free of charge.
Click here to contact us.