“Stop me if you’ve heard this.” We use this phrase when we’re concerned about being redundant. After all, nobody wants to bore people. Concerning missions, you may think, “I’ve heard it all before,” but don’t stop me from telling you one more time. It bears repeating. Because, as we face our day to day struggles, sometimes we need reminding that millions of people all over the world are facing their own struggles without Jesus.
Within any movement there are rallying cries. Phrases that strike a chord and remind us of our identity. One such phrase for the COGOP came out of the first Assembly. It was reported that, when confronted with the thought of lost people dying without the knowledge of Jesus Christ, “Strong men wept and said, they were not only willing, but anxious to go.” It is in our spiritual DNA as a body to be moved with compassion for the lost, to be willing and anxious to go. We are at our deepest core a missionary movement. We are striving to live out the Great Commission individually, congregationally, and in all our corporate expressions. The cry has gone out from our beginning and through our history. Indeed, global missions is the call of God throughout Scripture and continues to be the call to Spirit-empowered Christians today. It is our reason for being.
This past summer, at Tennessee’s Big Shot camp, three little girls listened intently as leaders shared throughout the week that God wants us to “Go Big.” Every day, Izzy, Reagan, and Emily heard stories about creative ways boys and girls have raised money and resources to help people all over the world. Those campers were convinced, not only that they should do something, but that they could do something. But what?
One afternoon, while waiting for an activity to begin, they heard someone say, “Ow!” Reagan turned to her friends and said, “These rocks are not comfortable seats!” Izzy laughed and said, “Hey, we could sell rocks!” An idea was born! So, they gathered rocks and began to tell campers and counselors they were selling rocks to raise money for missionaries in India. Preposterous, right? That could never work! But, by the end of camp, they had raised over a hundred dollars.
After camp was over, Izzy took her idea a step further and began painting rocks to sell. I saw her manning a booth at the Tennessee state convention! To date, hundreds of dollars have been raised to spread the Gospel because three little girls believed that they could do big things for God with a little idea. They caught the vision!
We have a great privilege in the COGOP to be part of a family, to participate in a network of churches all over the world reaching souls for Christ. But make no mistake. With this privilege comes the responsibility to maintain and energize those ministries with our prayers and our finances.
This issue of the White Wing Messenger is full of missions stories from all over. Each story is evidence that prayer for the harvest and faithful missions giving are enabling laborers to reach the world. Rise up, O Church of God! Every member and local church must embrace the reality that consistent, faithful prayer and consistent, faithful giving is what supports our ministry network, reaching new fields and impacting the global harvest.
The Harvest Partner mission network has been established to enable members of the COGOP family to meet the needs of COGOP ministries around the world. Linking arms with Harvest Partners is the most effective way to support our missions programs. It must be championed in each local church. The Vision 2020 strategic goals for the Church of God of Prophecy urge us to be a unified missionary movement with a passion for the lost across all people groups. A specific objective is to connect every local church to the Harvest Partner mission network. We cannot neglect our brothers and sisters on the mission field. They are depending on us to help them expand the work and reach of our Movement.
The Church of God of Prophecy’s ministries encircle the globe. We are planted on five continents—Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America; we are working in many of the island nations of Oceania; we are ministering among tribal peoples, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists; we are in the Southern Hemisphere, in the 10/40 Window, in Eastern Europe, and throughout the West. Dynamic native leaders are sharing Christ in dangerous places like Pakistan and in the world’s most populous and poverty-stricken nations.
The stories must be told. We are taking the life-transforming message of Jesus everywhere, raising up indigenous leaders of every language, culture, ethnic group and social class. We have set a goal to affirm and encourage cross-cultural missionaries. The Great Commission demands the continuing expansion of the Gospel from one people group and culture to another. There will be an on-going need for cross-cultural missionaries to respond to the call of Christ to take the Gospel across language, ethnic, and other barriers.
Has everyone heard the Good News? Are all in the fold? Not yet. We must keep listening to the missions stories. For this purpose: to encourage and activate fervent prayer for the harvest, faithful, generous giving, and the development of leaders to serve until all have heard or until Jesus comes. We all need to “Go Big” until we “go home.”
*Feature cover photo credit: Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock.com