By Bob Fetherlin, President One Mission Society Global
Why have I had a multitude of opportunities to hear the good news of Christ, while so many have never had the chance, even once? This is the greatest of all social injustices.
We have the needed people, money, technology, and strategies for everyone to hear. Yet, millions languish with critically low or no access to the gospel, This must not continue.
After many conversations, fasting and much prayer throughout 2014 and 2015. I was convinced God wanted one Mission Society to take a bold step of faith, a vision far beyond our resources, but not beyond his. In the conversation with a co-worker, the idea of giving at least a billion people, over 10 years the opportunity to hear, understand and believe the gospel came into focus. This vision quickly became an unquenchable passion.
But was God really calling OMS to this vision? It was tested in 2015 by presenting it to the OMS missionary leaders, the Men for Missions Cabinet, and the OMS Board of Trustees, who consistently and strongly affirmed it. We launched the Billion.Global vision in July 2016. We recently completed year three of the 10-year journey.
Since the first year of this vision, we’ve emphasized evangelism and discipleship. A few criticisms have come. But instead of being discouraged, they have strengthened the resolve to press forward.
Amazingly, God has given some great servant leaders to shape and give direction to Billion.Global. He has led many organizational partners to engage with us in carrying it out. Collaboration between partners is growing, generous people give to support the vision. Most importantly, more people are being given the opportunity to hear the best news ever and become disciples!
Hudson Taylor wrote, “There are three stages to every great work of God. First, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” The most recent Outreach magazine gives an update from somewhere between stage one and stage two. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a future issue focused on stage three, all for the God's glory?
Type billion.global into your browser to learn more.
Almost every evangelical Christian would affirm a commitment to the importance of prayer in their life and in the ministry arenas in which they work or volunteer. Missions is no exception. Do you really pray for missions? What do you pray for missions? How do you encourage others to pray for missions. Here are four concrete ways to elevate the status of prayer as it relates to missions.
1. Make prayer the missions priority for your missions team and your congregation.
a. Set a personal example by praying for one or more missionaries daily.
b. Set a team example by praying first in every missions team meeting.
c. Program prayer into every missions activity.
d. Include prayer for missions and missionaries in every corporate prayer meeting.
2. Recognize that people are motivated to pray for people they love.
a. Develop personal prayer for missionaries based on relationships.
b. Set a goal for the number of people who will commit to pray for a missionary.
c. Use the missions conference to inspire individuals to pray for a missionary.
d. Ask individuals to commit to pray faithfully for one year for a specific missionary.
e. Ask them to write the name of the missionary on the conference commitment card.
f. Provide the names of those who sign up to the missionaries they will pray for.
g. Ask the missionaries to send their prayer letters to those individuals.
h. Remind the individuals of the commitment they made.
i. Renew prayer sign-ups annually.
3. Facilitate ongoing relationship development
a. Encourage the missionaries and prayer partners to develop relationships.
b. When your missionaries visit your church, facilitate their meeting with their prayer partners.
c. Communicate success stories.
4. Pray corporately for the world, countries and people groups.
a. Use resources such as the Global Prayer Digest, Operation World, etc.
b. Participate in the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Day of Prayer for the Unreached and other special prayer events.
c. Personalize where possible by identifying countries and peoples with missionaries you support.
Have you ever wondered what to talk about with a missionary that visits your church or that comes for a meal at your home? Good questions are the fuel to a great conversation. They are the door by which you can discover who a person really is.
You may have thought, “I don’t really have much in common with these missionaries. They live in a foreign country and do something I would never dream of doing.” Or maybe you think that missionaries get tired of answering questions. However, the truth is that most of them are excited to talk about the people and country they love.
If you have ever thought any of these things before, then here are some great questions to ask next time you are with a missionary.
Ask about their calling
1. How did God lead you to become a missionary?
2. What did you do before you were a missionary?
3. What advice would you give somebody who have felt that God may be leading him or her to become a cross-cultural missionary?
Ask about their country
4. How would you describe your neighbours and the people that live in your town?
5. What were some of the biggest adjustments and challenges you had to make when you started living in your place of service?
6. What do you miss most from Canada while you are on the field? What do you miss most from your country while you are in Canada?
7. How do people in your country view Canada? What are some cultural differences or barriers that you have had to overcome?
Ask about their work
8. What is the best part about being a missionary? What are some of your favorite things you get to do in your work?
9. What does your typical week look like?
10. What are some of your biggest victories from the past year?
11. What were some of your biggest challenges during the past year?
12. What are some of your big goals and desires for your future ministry?
13. How can people and churches here in Canada better help your work?
Find out who they are
14. Tell me a funny story about something that has happened to you as a missionary.
15. Have you read any books that have been particularly helpful to you? Do you listen to any podcasts or preachers that are an encouragement to you?
16. What is one of the most encouraging things somebody has done for you while you were on the field?
17. How is your family doing?
18. What are some activities that you like to do as a hobby or to relax?
Find out what you can do for them
19. How can I pray for you? If the setting permits, ask to pray with the missionary that very moment. Surprisingly, there have been very few occasions that people have done this for us, and yet we deeply appreciate it. It is powerful to have people not just pray for you, but with you.
20. Is there something I can do to help your family right now or while you are on the field? Again, you may be amazed at the response to this question. Most times the needs are very simple – getting to do a load of laundry, mailing a small package, or recommending a good place to take their kids for the afternoon.
You may be surprised. The more you talk with a missionary, the more you may find out that they enjoy many of the same things you do. They may share similar struggles with you. They may be more like you than you thought at first glance.
So the next time you are with missionaries, don’t hesitate. Go talk with them, Your thoughtful questions just may open the door to a terrific conversation, an encouraging moment, and even a new friendship.
Outreach, Missions and the Great Commission
Have you ever wondered if outreach and missions are the same? Or, if they are different, is one more important than the other? In the next couple of paragraphs, we will discuss both Outreach and Missions and where they fit into the Great Commission.
What is the Great Commission?
The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20. This is the passage where Jesus gives the 11 remaining disciples the final task before he is to ascend. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
But, this task does not just exist for the 11 disciples; it extends to all followers of Christ until the end of the age. So, this task was given to us, as individuals and as the church. We must make disciples (obedient followers of Christ) in all nations by teaching Scripture and baptizing new believers.
What is Outreach?
Outreach is when the church, reaches out to help those within its community. Outreach is local near-neighbour evangelism. We share the Gospel and teach Scripture with the hopes that we can make new disciples within a small region. A good example of outreach is Vacation Bible School. VBS is a one-week summer camp that churches will run inviting children from the church as well as the community. The goal for VBS is to introduce the Gospel to children from the community who may not have heard of God before. This is outreach because the church is reaching out to the community and teaching Scripture.
Is Outreach Enough?
No, outreach is not enough. Outreach teaches scripture and can lead to people being born again but it doesn’t complete the Great Commission. Outreach may play a part in the Great Commission by reaching those within our community but we also need to reach every nation. How can we “make disciples of all nations” if we are only staying within our community? How will the Gospel and the good news of Christ be shared with the nations? This is why we need missions.
What is Missions?
Missions is when the church goes farther than their community. Missions is when the church crosses cultural, ethnic and religious barriers. Missions is when the church sends out their own members to go and teach the Gospel to those outside of their affinity group. An example of what missions can look like is the sending of a missionary. A missionary crosses barriers to preach the Gospel and share the Good News in a place that is foreign to them.
What is The Difference between Outreach and Missions?
Have you been able to spot the difference between outreach and missions? It is location. Outreach is the part of the Great Commission that stays within the small community of the church. Missions is the part of the Great Commission that will reach the nations as it is that part which crosses borders.
Which One Is More Important?
This is a trick question as one is no more important than the other is. The Great Commission will not be completed unless both outreach and missions are being done. In order to cross borders and to do missions, one must first be willing to do outreach. If we are not willing to teach those in our community, how will we be able to teach those in a completely different nation? Outreach is what prepares us for missions.
It is important that the church does not just focus on one or the other but on both. If we only focus on missions and crossing borders, we forget about those unsaved in our own communities and creating new disciples to send. If we only focus on outreach we forget about reaching the nations and sending the disciples that outreach has made.
If we have any hope that the Great Commission may one day be completed, the church must be willing to participate in both outreach AND missions. Outreach creates disciples in our own community and these disciples can be sent by the church to the nations. Among the nations, the disciples we send make new disciples. These new disciples in turn evangelize their own community and do outreach there to create more disciples. It is a cycle that must not be broken if we are to complete the task Jesus has assigned us.
So, we encourage you and your church to start this cycle in your own community. Need help getting started or moving forward? Contact our office and we will be glad to help you and send you resources!
PRAY FOR HAITI
From the Ayars' blog...
The Ayars Affairs -- Life in Haiti
interrupted by the I Am.
Posted: 04 Sep 2019 09:36 AM PDT
Last night Matt and I were filling the midnight hours with our deep prayers, and the Lord gave me one I'm holding on to.
Remind me back, family.
The "peace" we've all been living in the last several months in Haiti is deceptive, though we all knew it. The shut down of roads, businesses, schools, transportation, fuel and security last February was never truly resolved...life just resumed after a few weeks. Money had run out and it HAD to break sometime. Prices have continued to rise, fuel has continued to be hard to find, and the president has named his fourth prime minister in less than three years, and even that has yet to be in function.
The last 10 days there has been no fuel, period, no gas, no diesel, which effects every element of life...from the public transportation our students use to come to class to generators hospitals and businesses and the phone company use for power. September 9th is the day all elementary and high schools resume class in Haiti, and that makes right now prime time for those fighting for power and money to wield fear and flaunt injustice.
If fuel continues to be blocked, the country cannot function. If desperate and angry men are paid to burn the country down, to threaten children, to stop all progress, all efforts, all education, all businesses...they will.
As our staff joined again yesterday for Tuesday prayer, the dismay, discouragement and heartbreak was heavy on the faces and hearts of our family. Their pain and burden, which I will never fully be able to identify with, kills me. Since the heavy cloud lifted a bit in March, I have not been the only one battling fear: we cannot go there again. We cannot do that again. I can't do that again.
With threats of evil and rumors of violence and desperation growing and prices STILL soaring and no fuel and school about to start, we are at the brink of there again.
Evil always preys on desperation. On innocent children. On hungry people. It is altogether selfish and dishonest and altogether out to kill and destroy...and it's knocking at Haiti's door again, still, and ready or not, here we are.
Ugly things tend to bring out ugly things in people. Threats bring out fear. Violence brings out hatred. Desperation calls out ungodly responses. Shortage ushers in greed, fatigue allows for injustices that wouldn't have been allowed for on stronger days.
When the economy is weak, when the government is weak, when courage is weak, when systems are weak...we get weak, too. We respond with bitterness and selfishness instead of grace and patience. We respond with fear and frustration instead of being of good courage. We ball up our fists instead of opening them to each other.
When we're weak, we fall for Satan's lies and listen, instead of speaking up the truth.
As we were tempted to despair, to discourage, to embitter, to be angry, to be weak last night, Jesus absolutely interceded for me before the throne with this idea:
We cannot allow the weakness of the world to make us weak, but must allow His strength to make us strong.
We cannot allow the broken to make us broke, but must allow His healing to make us whole.
We cannot allow fear to make us afraid, but must allow the Lord of Heaven's Armies to give us courage.
We cannot allow worries to make us worry, but must allow the God of Peace to make us peacemakers.
We cannot allow the bitter to make us bitter, cannot allow the desperate to make us desperate, cannot allow the harsh to make us unkind, cannot allow the shortage to make us short.
We are His CHILDREN. We are light in the darkness.
Now, friends, now more than ever we must be above reproach, we must cling to what HE IS and let Him SHAPE us, not be shaped by the world. Now more than ever we must be strong and courageous, we must be love in such lostness, we must be His Hope in such despair.
LOVE, darn it.
Do you know why, by His grace, I can do this again, come what may??
Because His Love.
It never gives up.
It never loses faith.
It is always hopeful.
It endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:7
THAT kind of love, that is what our brothers and sisters here in Haiti, our children, our country...that is what we NEED TODAY. That is what your corner of the world needs, too, and is desperate for.
If we are doing this again...
If we are doing this again, the Living Water that flows from me will NOT be scorched by it.
If we are doing this again, I will be the resounding voice of HIS love that NEVER gives up, that NEVER loses faith, that NEVER loses hope, that ENDURES. I will spread that, pray that, show that, share that, be that love to our fellow missionaries, to our fellow staff members, to our fellow family, to my children, to His children, to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing.
I'm giving Him my weakness now--for nobody needs it--to be made strong.
He is on the throne. He is well aware. His hand is not short. His work is not finished.
Intercede for us in Haiti. Intercede for this country, for these people. Go to the throne of grace on Haiti's behalf, pray for a NEW DAY, pray for open eyes, pray for brilliant light, pray for a totally different cycle.
But most, pray that His children might be faithful to GIVE what HE is giving, and nothing else. Pray that we might be faithful to LOVE how He is LOVING. Pray that we might be so totally grounded in the Light that He is, that the darkness cannot overcome it.
As far as it depends upon me, the little daily actions and words and inner thoughts of my mind and tongue and heart will testify of the victorious Christ, on the throne unshakable.
And as I beg Him for His help with that commitment this morning, He interrupts me.
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS AT SEMINARY
You may be aware that OMS places a high priority on training local leaders for the churches that are planted through the ministry of OMS and its partners world wide. That is why there are more than 30 seminaries around the world established by OMS or who partner with the OMS Theological Education department.
One such seminary is the Seminario Bíblico de Colombia in Medellin, Colombia. This seminary is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in September.
What follows is a letter from a married student that details what they have learned about God’s faithfulness while they attend seminary.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is a great privilege to share with you a brief testimony of what God is teaching us as a family at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia.
The Matos family can testify that we have been blessed throughout this process in the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. God has blessed us with health and has provided us the opportunity to grow together as a family.