Backyard

A few weeks ago my wife and I bought a new grill. Over the past 6 years we have bought a grill on the average about every 14 months.

This time we wanted to get a better grill that would last a bit longer. So we did some “grill research”. Here is what we found out.

1. The grills we had owned were cheaply made. They had a lot of features, but they were made with flimsy materials. This is why they did not last very long.

2. They were all made in China.

3. Lowes Hardware quit carrying our last grill because it had a major flaw…. it would blow up on people. (we were lucky it never happened to us! We grill 4 to 8 times a week!)

4. We needed to stay away from cheep grills that were made in China. So we started looking for something made in the USA.

Have you ever looked for products that are made in the USA? They’re scarcer than a politician who understands budgeting.

It seems we import everything. Toys, glass ware, plates, stoves, computers, cars, lights, tires, clothes, etc… most of these items are made somewhere else. It seems like the industrial revolution has been reversed here (a de-revolution) and has moved to another country.

We even import our food… the food we used to raise.

I think we need to go back to making things at home…. growing things at home.

My question is… has the church fallen into this trap when it comes to missions? Has the church stopped growing at home because it is more concerned with sending missionaries and taking trips to foreign countries?

Now don’t take me wrong… I am not speaking against foreign missionaries and their work. I have plenty of good friends that have outstanding ministries across the globe and I am in support of taking the gospel to the nations because Jesus said to do just that.

Jesus however also told us to take the gospel to our neighbor, to our neighborhoods, the ones that live beside us ( and the church).

Are we going there?

Here.

Reaching out…

taking the church to the community….

where we live.

Yes…there is a harvest field that is ripe right here, right now, across the street, and on each side of us. You do not have to fly across the world to find someone who needs Christ. They are right beside us… day by day.

So…

We need to make sure our church is “growing at home”.

We need to make sure our church is a force for missions….

in our backyard.

2 thoughts on “Backyard

  1. Good post. You have pointed out an interesting problem in the American church. We do have a growing problem here in the U.S. -Churches are no longer emphasizing evangelism. As a missionary, I am always hearing from folks back home that are looking for glowing reports of how the Lord is working on the mission field. One pastor even commented, “We like a return of one soul saved for every dollar we send to you each month…” Yet, that particular church has declined in numbers since beginning to support our ministry. The majority of our supporting churches are in decline. Visitation and evangelism programs are not emphasized or even worse, non- existent. The problem is discouraging for missionaries as we labor on the field to look back toward home and see the church dying. America was once a great mission sending force and today its quickly becoming the world’s most needy mission field. I’m reminded of an old saying, “Don’t sell the farm.” We cannot expect missionaries overseas to do all of the soul winning and leave our own home town unevangelized. Eventually churches will decline, then close and America will no longer be the great sending nation of the globe. Each year missionaries are having a harder time raising and maintaining their support. Things will only get worse until Americans get serious about winning their Jerusalem.

    Should we stop supporting foreign missionaries? Oh no! Should we cut our missions budget? Never! But, step up the evangelism efforts at home. Encourage every church member to win another soul to Christ. Revamp visitation and evangelism programs. God will bless and the Biblical pattern of missions will once again make America a great sending nation. When we emphasize home missions correctly, foreign mission programs prosper because we have a proper balance.

    There are churches out there doing this and doing it well. These seem to be the churches that are raising our support and seeing God-pleasing growth. It’s amazing how successful we can be when we do things God’s way. It has been said that “sympathy is no substitute for action.” Americans have been historically SYMPATHETIC to the needs around the world. Now its time for us to take ACTION and witness to those all around us.

    Now go out, BUY AMERICAN, support a missionary and share the Gospel with your neighbor. I think God will be pleased.

    1. This is good… thanks John. BTW – John Poe (check out his blog link on the side of this page) is one of the missionaries that is “getting it done” overseas. It is an honor to call him my friend.

      It was once said that “The light that shines the brightest at home, shines the farthest.” Dr. Steve Corts I think that sums up the point of this post and Jon’s comment.

      Just to reemphasize a point that John made…. We expect glowing reports from the missionaries we support and we expect them to adapt to the culture they are in… in-order to reach people with the gospel. The question is… is the church you go to living by those expectations?

      We need to live by the expectations we place on our missionaries. This means, if your church isn’t culturally relevant, its time to change and adapt. Because in order to reach people… the church needs to be culturally relevant and communicate the gospel clearly to that culture. (not just with in its walls) This will increase the effectiveness of the gospel’s message. This is different for each church and each community. Just like it is for a missionary…. FYI – we are the missionaries here.

      As I reflect on John’s comment here is a knee jerk thought that has come to my mind… I think we should make our goal for reaching the lost… not a dollar for dollar goal….. Instead I think it should be a soul for soul goal. For every soul the missionary reports, that they have reached in a another portion of the world, we need to match it by 10 souls. How would that change your church?

      That focus definitely turns our attention to our “backyard”

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