This morning in our worship at Nitro First Baptist the youth leaders launched the new 2011 theme, “Search and Rescue” based on Psalm 44:26, “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.” The whole service was permeated with a thrust for missions, going beyond the four walls of the church building, making a difference in the lives of the hurting and the lost. The leaders shared with us through drama and the spoken word the Biblical mandate to take the love and message of Jesus to a needy world. In short, they shared about missions. Tonight the congregation went through a prayer path in the fellowship hall to raise awareness of physical needs around the world. Again, the focus was missions.
So why is missions such a big deal? Well, for starters it is Biblical. From Genesis to Revelation we find God “going” to reach people who need to experience His love and life. Jesus spent much more time among hurting people than he did in the Temple or in the synagogues. The book of Acts begins in Acts 1:8 with Jesus describing a concentric circle pattern for being His witnesses. The rest of the book then gives an account of the Holy Spirit fulfilling that very pattern through the early church as they went to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.
Missions is also very practical — in this day and age, the lost and hurting usually do not come to us, so we must go to them. Gone are the days in which most everyone was at least familiar with church. The physical, emotional and spiritual needs still exist however, and people are looking to other experiences to meet them. As the body of Christ, we are responsible for sharing the love and life of Jesus that the world desperately needs.
Then, missions is relational. Jesus throughout his life built relationships with people right where they lived. We are called to step from our comfort zone and to do the same. Jesus is with us as we go and befriend the friendless and as we help the helpless. As Matthew 25:40 says, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Finally, missions is inspirational, particularly as we travel to other countries. In America churches are blessed with so very much, yet we do so very little. In second and third world countries, churches do amazing things with the scarcest of resources. Even though they have meager possessions and comforts, they faithfully and enthusiastically follow Jesus and grow as disciples. As we partner with them to do ministry, their values inspire us to refocus our priorities with a much more eternal perspective. What we own becomes not nearly as important as Who owns us. It is an eye-opening, life-changing experience.
Missions is Biblical, practical, relational and inspirational — it really is a big deal.