"The command has been to "Go," but we have stayed—in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth—but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland."
Supporting World Missions in the PCG is the most important thing any of us can do. It’s the commandment of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of us in the ministry have stayed! We have stayed in body, our giving has stayed, we don’t pray for our missionaries as we should, and we have failed to influence others to become a part of the bigger picture. We have grown accustomed to the homeland. I asked a pastor a few years back why his church did not support missions? He said, “The town where God placed me is my mission field.” His focus was small and obedience-limited; how sad. I had no response for him. I just felt sorrow because he was disobeying the commandment of our LORD to go into the entire world and preach the gospel. John Stott put it this way, "We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God."
Pastor Chad Buttrey pastors Chowchilla Family Worship Center. This young man is doing great things for God. He is also serving as our fine district Kingsmen director and doing an unbelievable job. Every year Pastor Chad sells Christmas trees for his building fund, but this year was different. Chad called and told me God had been dealing with him to give all the proceeds from his trees to World Missions. I was speechless. I wanted to help; I mounted my motorcycle with some buddies and we sold trees all day for missions. You can’t even begin to imagine the joy my team felt that day in serving Pastor Chad.
We sat down for lunch after the trees were all sold. You should know that I bought lunch that day when he handed me a check for $10,000.00 to go to the mission field. Chad’s church has moved up in the kingdom of God, following the words of Jesus to “Go!” His church moved into the top ten in our district some years back, and now his church is 2nd in our district and 4th in the nation for 2013. I can tell you this—God is going to bless his homeland!
As bishop, I travel across our district to get involved with outreach ministry. Even with my extremely busy schedule, I do about five outreaches a year. I went down to Hanford, CA where Bobby Guerra is pastor to help his church with a huge outreach endeavor. Many local churches were teaming up for this big event. I told Pastor Bobby, “When I get there you had better have a job for me.” When I arrived, I located our very distinguished pastor and asked him what my job was? He said, “Bishop, I just want you to walk through the crowd and greet the folks.” I reminded Bobby that I had requested a job, not a title. Reluctantly, he asked, “Can you fix bikes?” Can I? Point me in the right direction. For three hours, the team I brought with me repaired bikes for little children. Seeing the smiles on all of their faces reminded us of the joy of serving!
This is a tough question. Here is the problem: it’s much easier to stay home and serve the Lord here. In reality, the pastor of the local church is the key. If the local pastor wants to stay home, there is not much you can do to change that culture.
The Central California District has seen success in this area because of several factors. One is because of prayer. I just love to quote one of my favorite missionaries, J. Hudson Taylor, who said, "Brother, if you would enter that Province, you must go forward on your knees."
I believe that prayer works. I pray every day that God would make our PCG a mission-minded PCG! Prayer changes things! We pray for healing, we pray for victory, we pray for people to get saved, we should also pray for our PCG to give to missions! That’s the kind of prayer we pray at our district office.
Next we should become leaders of persuasion. How can you not like Mark Twain? He must have been more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” He was saying, “If you want influence, you must bring something to the table!”
Keep in mind that you can never bring something to the table that you are not willing to do yourself. Great leaders always lead by example. I remember selling my church board on the idea that we should give ten percent of our tithe base to the World Missions’ Department. I was able to persuade them because of my commitment to that part of my vision. Twice a year we had a special service for missions. The sell was easy and the board said yes because of my commitment to it. The rest is history.
How about eternity? It’s funny how we are always looking for the blessing now, am I right? I fear that we only give for the “pressed down and shaken together and running over” promise. The laws of God are like gravity. When a church becomes missions-minded, gravity takes over! God’s blessings will come. But what if they don’t? Eternity! Ladies and gentlemen, that is the only benefit I need to be missions-minded. Though there are many benefits of missions giving, eternity should be the only reason. We don’t need another reason! It’s the only reason!!
How does the church benefit from being missions-minded? How about when Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your lord!” (Matthew 24:23). Shouldn’t that be enough?