This Saturday, Laurel Baptist Church will host our 3rd annual World Missions Conference. There is no doubt that this is one of my favorite meetings of the entire year, and in many ways the most important meeting in our church. The heartbeat of God is world-wide missions and it should be the priority of every child of God. From reaching our neighbors to getting the gospel to those who have never heard, the passion of our life should always be centered on global evangelization.
While global evangelization is at the heart of the Bible, it amazes me how often a missions conference in some cases can be the least attended meeting in the church. Where is our passion…our priority…our consuming desire to share the gospel? When will God’s people see the need around us? I don’t want to waste my life. I want every minute to count for Christ. May our heart beat for God’s work around the world!
Here are five goals I have for our missions conference. Five goals that are good for any church missions conference.
1. Encourage and refresh missionary families.
One of my favorite parts of missions conference is the opportunity to love on our missionaries. Thank the Lord for those who have willingly answered the call to go to the ends of the earth. Missions conferences should be opportunities to shower these families and individuals with love while providing them opportunity for spiritual and physical refreshment.
- Assimilate a missionary “wish list.” Each year we contact our guest missionary families with a wish list they can return to us. As they fill out things they need for their families and ministries, we divide them up within our Bible study fellowships. Each small group will take on a missionary family for whom they can try and purchase many of these items on their wish list. What a joy to be present these gifts to them during the conference.
- Offer opportunities for parents to have time to themselves. One of the things we try to do is offer childcare for the missionaries who have children. This provides them the opportunity to spend a couple of hours together without the kids. Many missionaries understand how difficult is to have time to date while on deputation. We want them to be refreshed and enjoy a dinner, stroll around the park, or shopping at the mall without the pressure of caring for their children.
Take time to encourage missionaries when they visit the church. Pray with them, encourage them, and help them feel refreshed as a result of stopping at our church.
2. Strengthen the resolve to reach people across the street as well as around the world.
- Soulwinning must be preached. Soulwinning and personal evangelism can never be over emphasized. Missions Conference is not just a time to hear about the needs across the seas, its a time to strengthen our resolve to reach our neighbor, our family, and our own city for Christ. Every Christian is a missionary! We are to reach people with the gospel right where we are. I’m praying that through these meetings next week that God will stir my heart afresh for the harvest here and abroad.
- Soulwinning should be honored. This year will begin presenting an award during each missions conference called “The Harvest Award.” It will be given to an individual or family that has exhibited a great love and labor for the harvest in their faithfulness to soulwinning and encouraging missionaries.
3. Challenge members to attend a short-term mission trip that is made available each year.
Every year we make a mission trip available for our people, but I’m excited to announce that we are offering five mission trips for our church family to be a part of in 2013. We will be assisting missionaries in Europe, Asia, Central America, the Pacific, and the United States. Together, we will challenge each other to sacrifice time and finances to help people around the world. I hope you are praying about one of these trips. Our church is going to do everything we can to raise the money to help get as many as we can to the field next year. We will unveil the trips on Monday night during the conference.
4. Yield ourselves to God’s direction in world-wide missions.
Our young church has done phenomenal with our mission’s program since its inception three years ago. Each year we have been blessed to add to our faith promise missions giving and help mission points around the world. But it is my hearts prayer that we take the next step. A church missions conference to me is providing an opportunity for God to speak to the hearts of our people about personally taking the gospel to those who have never heard. I’m not only opening my own heart to God’s direction, but I am praying that God will allow us to be sending church for men and women who will dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel.
You’ve heard it said before, “The mark of a great church is not in its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” May God allow Laurel Baptist Church and other churches around the country to take the next step in sending people to the field. Paul said in Romans 10, “How shall they preach, except they be sent?”
5. Renew our commitment to faith promise financial support.
If God’s Word is entirely centered on world evangelization, and we do not give financially to missions, then we are opposing the will of God. The Lord equips us to be able to give to missions to send the gospel to the ends of the earth. Everyone can do something! It is my prayer that we will increase our giving this year to be able to support more mission points around the world. Will you prayerfully consider giving weekly or monthly above your tithes to world wide missions? Will you prayerfully consider increasing your giving this year for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
The success of any mission conference is understanding that it is so much more than meeting new missionaries, watching their video presentations, and picking up a prayer card. It’s about encouraging missionary families, strengthening our hearts to win souls to Christ, challenging us to step out of our comfort zones and assist missionaries on the field, yielding ourselves to God’s will for our life, and renewing our financial commitment to send the gospel around the world.