Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mission Field: Coming to a City Near You

One of the most well know and quoted verses by those going into going into foreign missions is "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." (Matthew 28:19) One interesting thing about this verse is that it can also be read, "Therefore as you are going, make disciples of all nations..."

We live in a unique time in history. There is a large influx of immigrants into our country from all over the world. Often the best and brightest from other countries are sent here to study at our universities before returning back to their home culture to lead their country in business or politics. Sometimes, people come here out of desperation hearing about the "American Dream" and hoping that they can work hard and improve their situation, if not for themselves then for their children. How will both of these groups be received by the church?

No longer do we have to think of foreign missions solely in the traditional paradigm of sending families or individuals to far off lands to share the gospel (This is important, but not the only doorway to missions). The mission field is here in our own towns, cities and suburbs.

I am not advocating huge programs or campaigns in this post. What am I am hoping is that we will open our eyes and look around to see ways that we can be loving neighbors to the foreigners and aliens in our own proximity. We never know what far reaching effects our obedient actions may have. I would like to leave you with some statements that I recently read about some of the people that World Relief works with:

Some observations about these newcomers:
• Fewer than 10% will be befriended by an American—let alone a Christian
• They are truly hidden from the life and ministry of most believers
• They come believing the United States to be a “Christian” country
• From their heritage, many have no concept of the separation of religion and government
• Many are perplexed by the lifestyle displayed by the “Christians” around them
• Unless pressured, most are quite open to discussing spiritual things
• The Christian faith tends to be defined by the media, our schools and the general population

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9-10)