What are practical ways a little Aussie church can have big global influence?
24 Nov 2020
When we think about church sizes, most churches in Australia might describe themselves as “little.” But Jesus taught us not to despise little things: a tiny mustard seed can grow large enough to give shelter to the birds.
I’ve had the privilege of being part of a suburban church that has for a long time looked beyond its own neighbourhood.
In 1970, the pastor introduced the idea of a “faith-promise” scheme where members were invited to make a pledge to give to the work of overseas mission (above and beyond what they were giving to support the ministry of the local church). In that first year about $2000 was pledged. This program has continued for more than 50 years, God enabling his people to give more than $800,000 since then.
But it’s not just about the dollars. The energy for effective mission comes from God who loves to answer prayer. So, every month a missionary prayer calendar is circulated – to foster true partnership in mission. Some missionary couples were supported for over 40 years and we were able to thank them in person as they retired last year. If anything, COVID has brought us into closer partnership with our missionaries, as they’ve shared videos or live interviews on Zoom during the service (why didn’t we think of that before?).
Then there’s October mission’s month. This is a chance to keep global mission on the agenda: a prayer breakfast, a dinner, a sermon series where we remember God’s global vision.
How can a little Aussie church have a big global impact? There’s nothing complicated about it. Keep giving, keep praying, keep sending out as God raises people up. A handful have gone out as “full time missionaries,” many others have moved to other parts of the country or other parts of the world, where they contribute to their new local church, and share with their new neighbours. In fact, over the years there have been people on every continent who once worshipped together in our little local church.
Support for missions has changed a lot in the last 50 years. Back then, the engine room was women’s societies, who had spare time during working hours to raise funds for mission. These days, we feel much more time-poor. And so, we have to figure out how to pass on these basics to the next generation so that long after I’m gone, God’s people here will keep giving, keep praying, keep going.
Is God calling you to join the mission field? Get in touch.