Last week, I attended a conference here in Louisville that centered around the importance of missions overseas, and the Gospel message being sent out in all directions. Since I believe God has called me to serve in the local church here in America, I must confess that oftentimes I downplay the importance of overseas missions because, “that’s not my calling.” But, that is not an excuse. In fact, when it comes to mission work overseas, all Christians need to be involved in some way.
What is difficult to know is how we can help if we are not actively going overseas. In a breakout session that I went to at the conference, the speaker addressed this, and gave some practical ways in which we as a body of believers can help our overseas brothers and sisters. Here are some brief ways in which we can help:
- Donate. It may seem obvious, but an excellent way in which we may aid missionaries is to help fund their journey and work. Countless missionaries are out there right now calling people and knocking on doors in order to get support. They need financial support in order to be able to go overseas. God has called us to be good stewards with our money and resources, and I can think of no better way to steward money well than by helping other people spread the Gospel. Outside of individual missionaries, their are numerous organizations and nonprofits that work to help fund missionaries and sponsor them overseas. If you do not personally know a missionary or an aspiring one, consider donating to one of these organizations. One that really stuck out to me at this conference is The Go Fund. This organization takes on graduated student’s student debt as they go overseas for long term (ten years or so) mission work.
- Pray. With the craziness of life in our current times, it can be hard to pray for something or someone that is not right in front of us. We can easily become short sighted. But, if we stop and think, we can see that there are many people out there who need our prayers. Namely, missionaries. No one needs to tell you that missionary work is hard. We hear about it all the time. It is hard as it is rewarding. And during their hard work, we ought to be praying for them. We deeply love our missionary friends and family, and so we should spend time in our prayer lives to sincerely pray for them. Ways in which we can be praying for our missionaries specifically are: that they would raise up local leaders in their planted churches, that they may have wisdom as they learn the local language(s),for their financial support, for their protection, that they can accurately preach and introduce the gospel, that they may have patience, and that they may instill godliness in the local leaders.
- Teach and instill. Lastly, an important role we can play here in America is to begin teaching our children and young people about the importance of missionary work, and instilling in them a desire to tell others about the Gospel. If we do this, what we are doing is growing both a love of the Gospel message, and a love of others. Our children and young people today are the missionaries of tomorrow. We should be empowering and encouraging them as they express interest in going overseas or begin showing interest in general evangelism.
Mission work comes with countless hurdles to jump through. Many of these hurdles show up before missionaries even get a chance to go overseas. If we are not going, then we need to be helping our dear brothers and sisters as they are working on going. Missions is at the heart of the Great Commission, and we as Christians need to be contributing in any way that we can.