WHAT IS A MISSIONARY SENDING CHURCH?
We are excited about what God is doing in here at EFCCL when it comes to missions! We have deep relationships and strong communication with our focus areas in Hungary, Honduras, China and Native America. Pastor Jay and Becky just returned from visiting four of our missionaries in Asia. Four people are being sent to attend the Budapest Summit this month, strengthening our partnership with the ministry in Hungary. Over fifty people will be sent out on short-term trips this year to our focus areas.
This year, we are overjoyed in God’s continued call for us to be a missionary sending church. Cassidy Baker will be returning to Budapest, Ben and Kristen Chotiz will be going to Zambia, and following their fall wedding, Gabby Sanders and Joe Davis will be serving in Mt. Currie, British Columbia. God is at work for His glory!
What does it look like to be a sending church? A sending church is a local community of followers of Jesus who have made a promise together to be prayerful, deliberate, and intentional in equipping, commissioning, and sending their own members both locally and globally, and continuing to encourage, support, and advocate for them while being disciplemakers cross-culturally. JD Greer says that, “Sending is already in the DNA of any Jesus following church. How and where you are sent will be revealed by the Holy Spirit, but you are sent has been declared once and for all in God’s Word.”
The church referenced in Acts 13 is a view of the first sending church. God had called Saul and Barnabas, and that church sent them out to the uttermost parts of the earth. That was a sending church. It was a church marked by intercession to reach the nations with the gospel, marked with caring for the needs of hurting people, and marked with a hunger for the teaching of the Word of God. It was a church marked with leaders who really believed the mandate of Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. Into that sort of community the Holy Spirit can quickly move. So when He said, “set apart these men” the church laid hands on them and “sent them off”.
It was a sending church.
The church is biblically charged with intentional identifying, equipping and setting apart missionaries for service on the field. While people may initiate with their churches the process of becoming missionaries, the church ultimately approves a potential missionary’s preparedness to serve. The church is called to actively listen to God and intentionally send out those who show promise and passion for missions. (Acts 13:1-3)
Once disciplemakers are deployed to the harvest fields, the church retains its spiritual authority over its missionaries. The church builds a mutual relationship with all missionaries, stays intentional in providing finances, spiritual and material care, prayer, visits to their field, and church discipline as needed. While the church is often unable to direct the missionary’s work on a daily basis, it should partner closely with them and play as substantial a role as possible regarding the missionary’s ongoing work to reach the nations with the gospel.
by Ron Kirkeeng, Pastor of Student Ministries and Outreach