Loving Local Missions

After growing up learning about international missionaries, I was quite disappointed when God established my missions field in an English classroom at my former high school. I felt so limited, but after I started teaching, I realized that I have more ministry opportunities in my classroom than I would have in many “ministry” positions. Through this realization, God gave me a passion for local missions.

The power of local missions is in the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships. There are so many charities we could support, so many organized drives and walks and fundraisers in which we could participate, but study Scripture and you’ll see that Jesus didn’t do any of these things. Jesus lived alongside those who needed Him. He ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and built a rapport with them that allowed Him to ask personal questions and challenge sinful behavior. He didn’t help them because it was a good thing to do. He helped them because these were His friends and He loved them individually.

There is great potential in building life-changing relationships right in our communities. And missio dei:gso, a small church plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, is taking advantage of that potential. Our church tagline is “of the gospel, for the city.” From the very beginning, our pastor made it clear that “we don’t GO to church; we ARE the church.” We do not exist solely for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those around us. While we do have services most Sunday mornings, missio dei keeps this mission as our focus by having For the City Sunday at least once a quarter. On these days, we don’t sit, sing, or hear a sermon. Instead we go out and serve our community.

We also have “missional community groups,” which are designed to connect people who have similar missional passions. These groups plan projects and regularly serve together in our community. The key in this is consistency. It is one thing to go in and serve a breakfast to the homeless. It is another thing altogether to dedicate yourself to serving breakfast every Sunday morning. Because of the dedication of some of our church members, we’ve witnessed friendships formed and lives changed.

God has placed us where we are for a reason. What untapped missions potential do you see in your community?

Allison Markwood serves on North Carolina WMU’s executive board and has been a part of 2 successful church plants.

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