“If there’s fire in the pulpit, there’s fire in the pews.” This applies not only to spiritual passion in general, but also to missions vision in particular. It never ceases to amaze us that pastors who sincerely believe that they understand and preach the Bible sometimes don’t see missions outside the standard “Great Commission” texts.
A pastor who understands the great overarching theme of God’s glory through all time and creation will see it throughout the Bible. God’s glory and the power of the Gospel sweeping across all of redemptive history and all nations will be evident to the pastor and his people. The spread of God’s fame and the power of salvation through the Savior, Jesus Christ, woven into God’s purposes through the ages and now through the church (revisit Ephesians 3 here) is remarkably clear.
The pastor has both an exegetical and a leadership responsibility to fervently communicate missions to his people. He models it through his prayers, sermon illustrations, relationship to supported missionaries, interests and concerns for international issues affecting the spread of the Gospel. It reveals it’s permeating influence through his priorities and passions, expressed from the platform (and in private).
If missions is a marginalized ministry, or tangential to the core of the church’s focus, or a distraction from building the local “kingdom”, then it will be regarding as unimportant to the people as well. On the other hand, if the pastor is “all in” with loving and fueling the obedient push to disciple all nations, then the people will treasure and highly regard it also.