Your own prayerful, open-to-missions-minded Bible study will help you figure out the priority in your personal ministry. Certainly don’t resist or bail out of opportunities to preach and teach on missions when it comes out in the course of teaching through the Bible. In fact, try to make sure that at least one time each year you preach on missions, at an appropriate time in the bigger church calendar of events. Maybe you would be the keynote, kick-off speaker or closing speaker in your church’s missions conference. Don’t let visiting speakers and missionaries have all the fun!
You may recall the story behind John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad. The story behind the publication of this book is significant. As the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper was initially disinterested in missions. It was one of those ministries that ran by itself. They had a significant organizational structure for handling that. They had an annual, week-long missions conference. Piper planned to have personal vacation time during that week. However, one year the planned keynote speaker of the conference was unable to come at the last minute. The missions pastor impressed upon John Piper the necessity of his canceling his plans for personal vacation and filling in for the missing speaker. When he reluctantly agreed to do it, he canceled all appointments and locked himself in his study to develop the messages for this missions conference. Never before had he seen or received training in the comprehensive and pervasive passion of God for his glory extending to all nations. This series of messages developed for that missions conference became the basis of this book. The “missions awakening” of John Piper has been providentially used of God through this book to awaken many pastors to the strong biblical support and vision for world missions throughout the Scriptures.
So, don’t leave town when missions events are scheduled. Participate. Build relationships with the missionaries. Visit them on the field. Your own study for your teaching missions through the natural course of ministry will have an impact. Your people need to hear you talking about it, preaching it, etc. To some of them, it will never be a priority unless they see and hear it firsthand from the pastor.
Give it to them! It will be good for your congregation and good for you. When you see it in the Scriptures, you will be more convinced of the rank and value of missions in the church.
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