Global Missions Emphasis - Intro

Series: Global Missions Emphasis

November 01, 2020
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

You are going to want to go to right now to access special resources that go with today’s message.

Well today begins the first installment of a special emphasis unlike anything we’ve done before, or at least since I’ve been here. Before I tell you more about what that is, let me back up and give you a little history of our church over the last few years and a strategy we’ve been working with.

When I showed up in 2014, I found a church ready to do whatever it took to impact its community for Christ.   I knew an old preacher who told me one time that some preachers come in and set down a circle of rocks. Other preachers come in and gather the wood. Then still others stack the wood in the circle. And then one day a preacher just comes in and sets the wood on fire, building on the work of those who went before him. I got the undeserving privilege of being that last kind of pastor.

When we got started doing what it took to reach our community, we looked first and how we did worship. We changed the feel from inward to outward. What I mean by that is we planned worship around the expectation that guests, both church and unchurched, would be with us. We tried to be careful about using church-ese and holding to traditions that might get in the way of influencing people who know nothing about our traditions. Above all, we united around the unchanging, life transforming gospel of Jesus, the good news that he lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.

Next, we focused on children and youth. I learned from my time as a campus pastor at a megachurch that you have to invest in those ministries above all others at first because these days parents follow the kids to church.

We hired a children’s ministry director and student pastor and worked hard to get those areas on point, and that’s a big reason why we’ve seen the growth we’ve seen. Most of the baptisms we’ve enjoyed over the last six years have come through them.

Then we needed to work on our facilities. They hadn’t been touched for the most part in decades. We made sure that our sanctuary and foyer reflect who we are in our recent renovations.

Then it was time for groups. You see, God brought the parents of kids and many adults our way, but we knew if we didn’t do more than just host Sunday school classes, we’d miss big opportunities to disciple our people and foster fellowship and community in our church. So we started LifeView and just recently hired a minister just to handle that. We have yet to see what LifeView can do thanks to COVID but it’s coming!

Now it’s time to put our energy into something else, something I’ve been wanting to get going since I’ve been here but waited until the time was right and the people were right. That time is now. We are ready to make missions a cornerstone ministry in our church. I mean, for real.

This is so appropriate considering we are going through the In-Between Years series, a look at the church in the book of Acts. Acts is an account of the early church’s dedication to and success in missions, telling others about Jesus.

If you remember, in the very first chapter we came across the most important verse in the whole book and even the whole Bible. Before Jesus ascended back to heaven he said…

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 (ESV)

That’s a divine outline of the gospel’s movement you can follow throughout the whole book. Chapters 2-7 are about the gospel spreading through Jerusalem. Chapters 8-12 Judea and Samaria. And chapters 13-28 to the ends of the earth, a movement of which we are still experiencing right now.

It’s more than an outline though. It’s also a promise for Christians when it comes to missions, to spreading the gospel. Jesus says we will be (not can be!) his witnesses if we’ll surrender to the power of God’s Spirit. 

And, it’s also a model for missions every believer can dedicate himself or herself to: work to see lives transformed by Jesus starting where you are (your Jerusalem) and then work your way out to the ends of the earth.

This new, ongoing emphasis at PVFBC is about helping us all live out Acts 1:8. We will do that by dedicating a month every year just to missions, local, national, and international.

We’re also magnifying our missions impact by combining the various missions offerings into one including a local element. Traditionally, as Southern Baptists, we’ve held a number of missions offerings throughout the year. You probably are aware of the biggest two: For over a hundred years Baptists have supported international missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas offering and missions on the North American continent through the Annie Armstrong Easter offering.

We want to take a new approach and combine those offerings, along with a few more we’ll look at in just minute, into one big offering called the ONE FUND. It’s one fund we’ll take up every year from which we’ll support Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and other missions organizations.

Finally, we’re magnifying missions by using our special emphasis to promote actually doing missions where we’ll send people on mission trips and maybe even one day commission someone from our church as a full-time missionary! In other words, we want to do more than just pray for and support missions financially, we want to make our church a missions sending launchpad.

So welcome this morning to the first Sunday of our big global missions celebration. From now through November 29 you’ll learn more about lives being transformed by the gospel all over the world, you’ll hear from actual missions agency staff, and you’ll even get to meet missionaries serving in Italy. All of that will spur us on to the crown jewel of it all when it comes to impact, actually giving to the ONE FUND.

Starting today we ask you to pray about what you will set aside above and beyond your regular tithes and offerings to go towards this big missions ONE FUND offering.

Here’s where you’ll want to go to and download the PDF outlining what we’ll do with this giving opportunity. You can look at that booklet for the details but here’s the overall breakdown of how your giving to the ONE FUND will transform lives all over the world, and it’s all based on Acts 1:8…

Our Jerusalem — 7.5% goes to local missions opportunities right in our back yard: the Hope Center, the Open Door Pregnancy Center, and the Bethesda Center. 

Our Judea — 10% goes to the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. This will support state Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief Ministries, Mississippi River Ministries, Appalachian Region Ministries, and Cumberland Regional Ministries  

Our Samaria — 30% goes to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering of the North American Mission Board. You’ll be supporting compassion ministries, church plants, evangelism events, chaplains all over the North American continent. There are no admin costs!

Our ends of the earth — 50% of your generosity goes to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering of the International Mission Board. Every penny also goes towards supporting over 4,000 missionaries all over all the world who’ve dedicated their lives to seeing the gospel transform people.

You math whizzes probably noticed those percentages  add up to only 97.5%. Good for you! 2.5% of the ONE FUND offering every year will go into a special missions scholarship account we’ll use to help send our people out on mission opportunities.

So right now begin praying about what God would have you give towards the ONE FUND. Ask God to reveal to you how much your financial blessings he wants you to invest in transforming lives all over the world starting right where you are. And then on Sunday, November 22, be ready to act on what God’s shown you by bringing your offering to church where there will be special envelopes (or give online). We’ll pool it all together and celebrate the faithfulness of our people on Sunday, November 29.

Here’s our goal: $10,000

Conclusion: Let me close with this. Remember what Peter said before the Sanhedrin who wanted him to stop preaching Jesus?

20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  Acts 4:20 (ESV)

We aren’t celebrating missions and asking you to give to the ONE FUND just for fun, though it is fun. We are doing it because it is a way to speak of what we’ve seen and heard. It’s a way to give others all over the world the opportunity to know a savior like Jesus who lived the life they should have lived and died the death they should have died.

On that note, have you taken God up on his offer to save all those who call on his name?

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