Monday, February 27, 2012

Missions: Local and Global

In addition to serving as the Church Planting Catalyst for the Green Mountain Baptist Association, I am also one of the elders at Faith Community Church. Though our church is only a few years old, we care deeply about sharing the gospel in Vermont and around the world. We have demonstrated that concern by reaching out to non-churched people in our community as well as sponsoring missions in the nearby towns of Northfield and Waterbury.

This summer we will embark on a brand new adventure of helping orphans in Haiti. We are sending a team of 16 to minister alongside Haitian nationals at God’s Littlest Angels orphanage Petitionville, Haiti.

It has been interesting to observe people’s reaction to this new ministry. Some have expressed excitement that we are finally going to do real missions because we are traveling to another country. I remind them that we have been doing real missions for years because Vermont is itself a great mission field. Others have expressed frustration that we are going all the way to Haiti when there are so many needy children right in our own community. I try to remind them that our church ministers to local children through a variety of ways but that we must also care about people in places that do not have the resources that we do.

Trying to help both individuals and churches grasp the importance of balance in mission work can be a challenge. Some churches will give their last dollar to reach a poor person in an under-developed nation but would not walk across the street to share Jesus with homeless man. Others would invest all their time and energy in a helping those across the street but neglect the much larger world that has overwhelming needs.

We need to come to terms with the reality that it should not be one or the other. We must be burdened for both local and global needs and we must be active in reaching both regions for Christ. Acts 1:8 tells us to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. This verse clearly says that we will be witness to all of those places. It does not tell us to pick one and ignore the rest. We must be willing to allow God to use us to share the gospel locally, regionally and globally. There is simply no other option for a healthy Christian or a healthy church.

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