Overseas Outreach of the Local Church


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We should be supporting the Lord’s work at home and abroad. Comes in a pack of 10.


“When we are dealing with the local body of believers, the church, we can legitimately paraphrase Proverbs 29:19: “Where there is no vision, the local church is perishing.”
Relative to the foreign field, we hear the expression again and again, “our goal is to establish the indigenous church.” The characteristics of an indigenous church, reduced to its simplest form adjectively, are “self governing, self supporting and self propagating.” This means that local Bible churches that are created by the Holy Spirit, through our faithful missionaries, are to be able to function as individual units without dependence upon outside help for finances, organizational stability or guidance in performing their responsibility of evangelistic outreach. The cost, in time, to produce such a church varies from two years to twenty years, depending on the area and situation.
According to Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. The fruit of a Christian is another Christian, according to 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 1:10, where Paul speaks of begetting sons in the faith.
What then is the fruit of a local church? Love? Yes, but that is really the characteristic of the Holy Spirit. Souls being saved? Yes, but a newly-born soul is really the fruit of an individual member of the local church. What is the fruit of a local church? Apple trees produce apple trees. Men beget men. The fruit of a local church is another local church! Every church, as soon as it becomes a mature entity, should beget another local church.
But, this subject also has overseas outreach. Let’s read the Kingdom Commission given to the Twelve Apostles on the day of Pentecost in Acts 1:8. “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem…and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” I have never seen a local church with a vision for the lost in Bolivia, Brazil, or the Islands of the Sea that did not have a vision for the man next door on his way to Hell and the many in the next town on their way to Hell!
If I understand anything of the Pauline Commission, there are two ministries that are essential to carrying out the stewardship: “to make all men see what is the fellowship [dispensation] of the Mystery.” The first of these responsibilities is to tell the unsaved (unbeliever) the gospel story. Paul made it plain in his apologia to the Corinthians that they could not accuse him of coming unto them declaring the Mystery (1 Cor. 2:1). He explains in verse 6 that we do, however, speak the Mystery unto the perfect (mature). To the unsaved, the message is simply, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (vs. 2).
When a church congregation becomes mature, the other aspect of the commission comes into play, i.e., to make known the Mystery of the Gospel (Eph. 5:32; 6:9; Col. 1:26; 2:2; 4:2). Both the pastor and the mature believer in the congregation will learn how to walk in wisdom and speak with grace so that they may make it (the Mystery) manifest as they ought (Col. 4:4-6).
What can a local church do about having an overseas outreach?
(1) Recognize that evangelism precedes instruction in righteousness (1 Cor. 2:14). Make sure that all departments of the church and Sunday School are geared toward soul winning. There should be regular reports in the church of souls being saved, through mature church members, outside of the church.
(2) Pray and work toward planting a new congregation in the next town to raise the sights of the local church as a body.
(3) Put into a yearly schedule and budget an evangelistic campaign of several consecutive days.
(4) Schedule a yearly missionary conference of a few days in length. Invite more than one missionary to participate. If two foreign missionaries are not available, include a home missionary representative as from Bible Doctrines to Live By, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Prison Mission Association, etc.
(5) Say “Yes” to approved missionaries passing through, even though you may not be permitted to surrender the pulpit. Let him teach a Sunday School class, give a testimony or lead in prayer in the worship service. Allow him to distribute literature. Do not say “No” to an approved, unscheduled missionary; merely limit his opportunity.
(6) Pray your own youth into Grace Bible College where they can get a missionary vision.
Make that commissioning service for your missionary at least as impressive to your young people as the weddings they have attended.
Develop a church missionary committee that will inform the congregation and keep missionary projects in front of the people.
(9) Invest in missions.
(10) Have your pastor and others visit the missionaries on their foreign fields. The whole church will be affected and blessed.
(11) Encourage and help support financially the college-age person to spend some time as a short-term missionary.
“A few can go, others can give, but we can all pray” is not a saying in the Bible. Those who are not going to their neighborhoods with the gospel are not burdened to pray for the missionaries, nor are they regular givers. On the positive side, dedicate yourself to be a giver, a goer, and a prayer warrior for missions. These three are all the same people.”