GCR Challenges for Families

I spent this past weekend at Jonathan Creek helping with our Mother/Daughter Overnight, GA Overnight, and Acteens Splash.  I spent the night in the dorm with the mothers and daughters and taught the Bible study for the GAs and their leaders (and many of the leaders were moms).  I appreciated mothers who invested a weekend with their daughters, modeling the importance of missions.  I appreciated women who gave a weekend to take girls to camp for a time that was fun but also had the serious purpose of helping girls focus on the Great Commission.

The recent Great Commission Task Force Report included challenges to families. The GCR Task Force emphasized the role of the family in teaching missions and had some suggestions for things families could do to instill Great Commission values into the hearts of their children.  I believe these moms who took time to spend time at camp with their daughters are making a difference for the Kingdom and the Great Commission.

Some of the challenges to families:
– Make prayer for and the evangelism and discipleship of children a family priority that begins with parents and is assisted by local churches.
– Develop strategies as a family for praying for, serving, and sharing the Gospel with neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom family members come into regular contact.
– Adopt a different unreached people group each month and pray as a family (1) for IMB missionaries working with the people group, (2) for the conversion, baptism, and discipling of countless individuals within the people group, and (3) for the establishment of biblical churches among the people group.
– Adopt a different North American church plant each month and pray as a family (1) for the church’s leadership team, (2) for the conversion, baptism, and discipling of countless individuals in the church’s region, and (3) for the birthing of future church plants from the church.
– Spend a family vacation participating in a local church or association sponsored mission trip.
– Consider setting up a mission’s saving account for each of your children that would enable them to spend six months to a year in a North American or International Missions context soon after graduating from high school.

WMU wants to partner with families to teach Great Commission values through missions groups such as Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Acteens, Challengers, and Youth on Mission. When missions teaching begins in the home and is reinforced through opportunities at church, missions becomes a way of life, a lifestyle.  

A great resource for preschool parents is Families on Mission: Ideas for Teaching Your Preschooler to Love, Care and Share.  This book by Angie Quantrell is available from WMU. Another great resource is The Family God Uses: Leaving a Legacy of Influence by Tom and Kim Blackaby. This book challenges families to be involved in missions together, locally and around the world.

The Great Commission begins at home – but it doesn’t end there. I am grateful for the moms and other women who have brought girls to camps and overnights this summer at Cedar Crest (Cedarmore) or Jonathan Creek, spending time and modeling a missions lifestyle with their (our) daughters. Women who invest in girls in the church and community, are spiritual mothers and their influence is felt around the world!

GCR Challenges

The report of the Great Commission Task Force entitled “Penetrating the Lostness: Embracing a Vision for a Great Commission Resurgence” was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention messengers at our meeting in Orlando.  The report included seven recommendations for the work of Southern Baptists.  These were significant items and will impact our work together in the years to come.

While in Orlando, a friend asked, “How does this report impact WMU?”  My response was that we in WMU would keep doing what we’ve always done, challenging and equipping people to carry out the Great Commission.  But I also told my friend, that I would be drawing attention to the challenges included in the report and how we in WMU can respond.

If you were not in Orlando and have not read the GCR Task Force report, it would be easy to think that the report only speaks to how the national denomination will do things and has nothing to do with me or my church.  While it is true that the SBC “cannot direct individual Christians, local churches, associations, or state conventions to take any particular or specific action,” it is fitting that the GCR report included challenges that speak to all of us.

Challenges for individual Christians:
– Return to God in deep repentance of brokenness over sin,  denying self, and coming to God with complete humility.
– Commit to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of your life, understanding that Christ’s lordship is inseparable from all aspects of the believer’s life, including family obligations, business and profession, and recreational or leisure pursuits.
– Devote yourself to a radical pursuit of the Great Commission in the context of obeying the Great Commandments of loving God and loving others.
– Participate in a church sponsored evangelism training class sometime during 2011 and make this a regular component of the discipleship process in your life.
– Develop strategies as an individual for praying for, serving, sharing the Gospel and discipling neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom you come into regular contact.
– Bear witness to the Gospel through personal evangelism, seeing every individual as a sinner in need of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone.
– Participate in a North American or international mission trip sponsored by your church or association at least once every four years.
– Grow in giving as a faithful financial steward with at least 10% of your income going to your local church.  However, see 10% as a place to begin in grace giving but not as a place to stop.
– Determine to exercise a greater level of stewardship through estate planning and planned giving, leaving a percentage of your estate to your local church, the Cooperative Program, and to a faithful Baptist entity such as NAMB, IMB, a Baptist college, or our seminaries.
– Give serious consideration to adoption and orphan care as a component of Great Commission living.
– Determine to develop a well-rounded Christian worldview that allows you to clearly articulate both what you believe and why you believe.
– Repent of any and all sin that has prevented you from being fully used by our Lord in fulfilling the Great Commission. This includes sins of idolatry, pride, selfish ambition, hatred, racism, bigotry and other sins of the flesh that dishonor the name of Jesus.

There is a lot in just these challenges.  The report also includes challenges for families, local churches and pastors, associations, etc.  If each of us just chose one and committed to carry it out in the year ahead, we would see great progress in penetrating the lostness of our world.  

For instance, the adoption and orphan care challenge could also be fulfilled through serving as an “In-Home Missionary” with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children as a foster parent.  KBHC needs the equivalent of at least one foster family per church to be able to really meet the needs in our state.  Few of the children needing foster care are literal orphans, but they are spiritual orphans needing loving families who share Christ.

Your one commitment might be to take a personal evangelism class this year, or write your will and include a tithe to the Lord’s work. It might be to go on a mission trip or develop a list of people who are lost that you will pray for every day.  

Start somewhere.  Choose one. The Great Commission is for all of us.

Missions is More than Collections

I attended a listening session on Monday evening for the Kentucky Great Commission Task Force.  We were gathered to allow anyone who had questions or comments about the work of the Kentucky Task Force to do so. One pastor commented that he wanted his church to learn that missions was more than collecting things.

Right on.  Collections are an important thing for us to do, but they are a first step to missions involvement, like unto the spiritual milk referenced in Hebrews 5:12-14.  If collections are coupled with action and involvement, they are an awesome way to involve people in missions.  But if a collection of items is the limit of our missions involvement, we are missing what God would have each of us to do.

The best collection projects are ones where the church learns about a need, collects the items, then sends a team to deliver them in person and interact with those who are touched through the ministry.  In addition, the best collection projects include prayer for those who will receive the items and continued prayer for the ministry after the items are sent or delivered.  It a team can deliver the items in person, then report back to the church about the ministry and how the items were used, the project will have more meaning. If the report includes how the church can continue to be involved with the ministry, this will take the collection project to the next level.

Certainly there are collection projects where our personal involvement may not be possible, such as the buckets for Haiti or Africa.  But what is possible is for us to be in touch with missionaries or other personnel where the items are being used and report back frequently to our churches.  If we can show pictures, share stories of lives being touched, and continue in prayer for the ministry, then this is a way to make the collection more than just collecting.

Let me share an opportunity where you can collect AND participate.  Tates Creek Baptist Church (TCBC) is having a Community Health Fair on July 30th.  They are collecting hygiene items (travel size) such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, wash cloth, soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc.   Marilyn Creighton, an MSC missionary serving with TCBC, has invited anyone who would like to collect items to do so and bring them to World Missions Unlimited, our state WMU training event at FBC Richmond, on July 16-17.

But Marilyn is also looking for volunteers. First to help with a sports camp, July 12-16.  They will have classes for all ages and are searching for a team to come help lead.  Plans are to hold the sports camp from 6-8:30 p.m. each evening.  Housing and meals will be provided by the church. For the Community Health Fair, medical personnel are needed to assist EKU personnel and student nurses who are heading up the 12 stations at the clinic. The health fair is strictly educational, but help is welcomed.  In addition, various forms of entertainment are needed during the day. If you would like to assist, contact Marilyn Creighton at 859-948-2357 or email: [email protected]

Learn about additional missions opportunities across Kentucky at www.kybaptist.org.  See the box that says “Latest Missions.” Click on anything listed in the box, or click the button at the bottom that says “View all opportunities.”  Also, Teresa Parrett, KBC Missions Mobilization Consultant will be happy to match you with a need.  Her job is to match requests for missions volunteers with people who want to volunteer.  Email Teresa at [email protected]  She would love to hear from you.  She can help you and your church take collecting things for missions to the next level!