WMU Blog

The Great Commission

From a young age, the Great Commission became a motto of sorts for me. I knew that I was called to the nations. I had no doubts that I would be the one to tell others about Christ, especially those who had never heard.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and sure enough the Lord placed me right in the center of an unengaged, unreached people group. I spent time in language learning how to share my heart and His words with this people who walked in such spiritual darkness. My lifelong vision for missions had come true. I was actually living it out.

In 2014, what started out as a six-month stateside assignment to the United States turned into the Lord calling us back to Mississippi. To say my world was rocked would be an understatement, but that's a story for another time. What I want to share with you is how the Lord redefined the Great Commission for me. He used it to create the same missions vision just from a different perspective.

One by One

I want to know a little bit about your myMISSION group. Are you reaching new women each month? Have you reached a plateau? Are you in decline? Are you helping women match their God-given talents with the needs of the community in which they are planted? Are you on the lookout for those opportunities? Are you using myMISSION Leader along with Missions Mosaic for creative ways to share missions information and ideas for missions projects?

I started a new missions group last year. I’d like to tell you that we are a large group, but that is just not the case. We are a small group of seven or eight. We have other women who weave in and out joining us for various missions projects. And sometimes we have as few as three of us who meet together.

However, I’ve learned that sometimes less is best. Smaller groups allow us to make friends and share what God has done in our lives. As we move out to do missions, a handful of women is less formidable than a large group. Even if we had a large group of women who came together, I’d break them down into small groups to head out to do missions. I believe in the power of small.

Your Move

Have you ever felt that life was like a game of . . . (insert game of choice). The cliché would finish by saying “chess,” but in my house the games of choice would be Memory, Yahtzee, or Go Fish.

I am sure at times we have felt that we are just going through the motions, living from one moment to the next. If you have small children in your home, there are times when you live minute to minute, trust me, I’ve been there. As mothers we can be so overwhelmed by this role and the job it brings that we miss opportunities God has placed in our paths.

The 8-5 Life and Missions

Step 1: God places a call on your heart to missions.

Step 2: You pray about this call and figure out how to do it.

Step 3: You board a plane to another country.

Step 4: You stay there as long as the Lord has you sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In a few steps, we define missions. It’s for the people who “heard a call” and then move to another country. For so long, I shared this definition and lived it. God laid nations on my heart, setting my sights on those places until I moved and lived there.

But, now? This definition has changed. I see missions not only as a step onto a plane, but as a lifestyle.

We love the Lord, with all our heart, soul, and mind, and we love our neighbor as ourselves.

We plant roots in our cities; we find work; we seek out the betterment of every person around us and share the love of Jesus everywhere we go. I don’t want to live a mission statement that takes me overseas for a season and then I move home and my time is up.

Reaching Beyond Your Culture

When I was in first grade, a girl named Esther joined our class. My teacher explained that Esther’s family had just moved from Hungary, and Esther spoke very little English.

I loved Esther from day one. I thought she was fascinating, and I wanted to help her feel a part of our class. I discovered the perfect tool for breaking the ice: stuffed animals. Each day, I would bring one stuffed animal for Esther to play with in class. Even though she couldn’t communicate well with words, we both knew how to play with toys.

Later I decided that I wanted to get Esther a Hungarian Bible. My mom tried to help me find one, but we were unsuccessful. However, we did buy her a Bible in English. Esther’s mom told me that their family had one Bible, but Esther had never had one of her own. She was very excited.

Since befriending Esther, I have always had a passion for sharing the gospel with people from a different culture. The great news in college is that I’m surrounded by people from other cultures!

Unique Church, Expanding Vision

A vision gives direction and motivation. Without a vision, I can flounder around, aimlessly wandering from one interesting thing to another. Without a vision, a church can have worship services and programs, keeping members busy but unclear about the future.

Our church is rather unique. We are a small, new Southern Baptist church and a declining, but established, Methodist church meeting together as a community church. My Baptist pastor husband had a vision for a church in an area where the declining population was unable to support several pastors but different denominations could worship together. Both the Baptist church and the Methodist church retain their forms of governance, yet we come together in everything else. My husband preaches solid Bible sermons each Sunday in a traditional service.

Currently the missions vision of the church is local. We support a variety of local missions causes, everything from a food pantry to a residential ministry for recovering addicts. This is good, but we are being nudged to expand that vision. How will that look?

My Vision = Their Vision?

How do you introduce a broader vision of missions into a church where many members truly don’t understand missions?

I teach Sunday School and many lessons lend themselves to sharing missionary stories from my WMU connections. We have had friends who serve with the International Mission Board come to speak and share videos of their work. This past December, we began introducing the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions to the congregation.

I am part of a women’s group that I am slowly trying to transition from a mind-set of local missions to national and worldwide missions. We are doing Bible studies that I am salting with missionary stories as much as possible. It would be wonderful to begin a new Women on Mission group. I am praying we would have some women who would be interested in that or we could work toward beginning an Adults on Mission group.

This experience is teaching me that it’s not always an easy or rapid process to encourage people to embrace your vision as their own. It takes patience, prayer, and more patience!

What Makes a Good Missions Project?

I’ve been asked forms of this question for quite some time now. I believe leaders want to make sure that the time they are investing in the children of their organization is not only a valuable use of leader time and church budgets but also a valuable learning experience for children.

Knowing that, consider these thoughts the next time you plan a missions project for the children of your organizations:

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

I noticed a few weeks ago in Mission Friends that he started calling his grandfather “Daddy.” For circumstances far beyond his control, C is being raised by his grandparents. They faithfully bring him to Mission Friends every week, and he has always called his grandparents Mawmaw and Pawpaw. When we talk about mommys and daddys in Mission Friends, we try to refer to Mawmaw and Pawpaw also. A red flag went up in my mind when I heard C calling him Daddy. I imagine there is some confusion on his part when he knows that other preschoolers have a mommy and daddy.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren. According to the US Census Bureau, “In 1970, about 3 percent of children lived in grandparent-maintained households; about twice that many (6 percent) lived in grandparent-maintained households in 2012.”1 In some of these homes the parents are also present, but in many the grandparents have sole responsibility for the care of their grandchildren.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren.

No Turning Back

Both Feet In Book Cover

In his book Both Feet In, retired missionary Dr. Bud Fray references an old African proverb that says: “Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” It’s like testing the temperature of the pool water before you jump in; we stick our toe in first and if it’s too cold we have the option of pulling back. Once we jump in with both feet we are committed . . . and we better know how to swim!

After serving 28 years among the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa, Bud and his wife, Jane, know firsthand what the African people mean by this proverb. The African peoples’ life experiences taught them to tread cautiously before committing to something. They worshipped many different gods and held many beliefs that were contrary to the gospel. So when confronted with the truths of the Bible, they hesitated to commit to the one true God of Scripture. Carefully and wisely, missionaries like Bud taught them to weigh all the consequences and then, when they were ready and totally committed to Jesus’ teaching, put both feet in, knowing there is no turning back.

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