Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Becoming a Missionary Church

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 31 Num. 9
“Becoming a Missionary Church”
First Published: March 5, 1998

We have just finished a week of spiritual feasting! What a blessing it was to hear from our missionaries: to listen to Jeff Marlowe tell of the exciting work of God’s superintending providence in Senegal; to hear of the wonderful opportunities for discipleship that the Lord is providing Nancy Adams in Charlottesville, Virginia; to reflect on God’s faithfulness as we hear Jed Johnston --a covenant son of this congregation-- tell of the strategic campus work in which he and Marney are engaged in Chattanooga; to praise God as we consider John Kinser’s account of how the Lord is building a church in Lake Oconee, Georgia; and to thank God when we ponder the tremendous ministry to medical students at UMC that the Lord is doing through Jimmy Turner.

We also feasted during the preaching of the Word. Fergus Macdonald challenged us to consider our debt of grace and to engage in paying it back in world missions. He taught us the significance of the parable of the dinner (Luke 14:16-24) for missions, and then (at our Thursday luncheon) provided a breath-taking panorama of what the Lord is doing around the World. Dr. David Sinclair showed us the King --our great God and Savior-- and challenged us with the truth that “once you’ve seen the King, you can’t help but have a heart for the kingdom.” May God bring the reality of his grace home to us in such a way that we become grateful witnesses for him.

There is much more to do. We are encouraged by the growing interest in missions in our congregation, but there is more to do. Our generation at First Presbyterian has been bequeathed a tremendous heritage in this field, but there is more to do. First Church has, for many years, been known as a congregation keen in its support of missions, but there is more to do. If we are to become a truly missionary church, then our hearts and lives must be gripped by the Gospel of grace: enrapt with the awesomeness of God, convicted by the sinfulness of sin, captivated by the grandeur of redemption, amazed by the extravagance of God’s love. Hearts taken captive by such realities cannot help but become missionary hearts.

Join us in praying for widespread involvement in missions giving here at First Presbyterian: wider than ever before. Join us in renewed commitment to pray for missions and missionaries. Join us in praying for people in our congregation to be called to the work of missions. Join us in praying that this conference would be used of the Holy Spirit as an instrument of revival in our midst. May we all long for the nations to tremble in the Lord’s presence.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

No comments: