14. A Sending Church

In Your Bible Read This

Philippians 4,14-20

Here Is Your Memory Verse

Jesus said, " Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Afterwards Talk About This

If you cannot go yourself for good and valid reasons, when will you begin to you send someone in your place and what will you do personally in the sending plan.

Something To Do Before Next Time

Discover the postal or e-mail addresses of at least three people on the mission field and write a letter of encouragement to them. Don't put it off till later, a word now may save their ministry.

Written Diploma Work

Write a leaflet, maybe three columns on two sides of paper, to explain what it means to properly send men and women into mission. Make sure it has a request for church members to respond saying what they would like to do. With permission distribute the leaflet in the church and churches, and see if the Lord will raise up a sending committee.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse

John 1.6

Spend a Minute to Change the World

Pray for a worldwide move of God in sending men and women into world mission. As the harvest in plentiful but the workers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest will raise up workers for the harvest fields, and that the churches will be willing and responsible in sending them out properly.

Be sure to teach this lesson to others. Always pray and prepare well adding your own verses and stories to bring it to life.

Called to be Fishers of Men

Please read Mark 1, 14-18

To summarise the passage Jesus said and is still saying that:

The time has come, and – the Kingdom is near.

In God's calendar and according to His clock, now is always the time of God's salvation, and today is always the day of His salvation (2 Corinthians 6,2).

Jesus said to repent, to believe and to follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Simon and Andrew responded by leaving their nets which were their means of making a living, and they followed Jesus, choosing to believe Him and become dependent upon Him and His word to them.

In the Kingdom our job is to be fishers of men

One fisherman with one rod and line can catch a fish from time to time.

However, let us learn from the methods of the world, who can be wiser than the people of God, Luke 16.8

  • When fishermen get together and work as a team on a fishing boat, they catch many fish.
  • When fishing boats of different companies get together and work in partnership, they spread their nets over maybe 50 square kilometres. When they pull in those nets they leave the ocean empty of fish, and reap the great reward of working together.
  • Jesus illustrated this in Luke 5,4-7.

Putting out into deep waters, because Jesus says so

Please read Romans 10, 9-14.

In verses 9-13, we see how men and women can be saved from sin, from self, from Satan and from a lost eternity, and saved for Christ's Kingdom, for blessing, for hope in this life and for a certain future with the Lord in eternity after this life. This is the wonderful good news of the gospel.

However, in verse 14 the scripture then divides the whole human race into precisely three parts:

Firstly, "They" who need to call on the name of the Lord

Meaning all the people called 'they' who need to call on the Lord who saves and richly blesses all who reach out to Him.

Who are they? See Matthew 24.14 and 28.19 for an idea, and review lessons 17 and 18 to revise your learning about unreached people groups, although of course 'they' may live next door to your home or church.

Secondly, those who are called to go

Meaning the brothers and sisters in church who are called by God to leave their "country, their people and their father's household and go to the land that the Lord shows them." (Genesis 12.1)

Those who are called to go 'they' (or them), who need to call on the Lord.

What will they do?

"How can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

You think you can't preach?

Remember Moses, Exodus 4.10 -17.

Remember Isaiah, Isaiah 59.21

Remember young Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1.9

Remember young Amos, Amos 7.14,15.

Remember young Esther, Esther 4.14-16.

Remember Peter who denied Jesus before he was filled with the Holy Spirit, but afterwards see his boldness, Acts 2.14 onwards.

You can't speak the language?

Remember St. Augustine's command when dismissing his workers to go into ancient Europe with the gospel, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and if you have to – speak as well!"

Augustine understood that it is often more effective to preach the gospel with our lives laid down in humble, sacrificial service of others for no reward, before we ever need to speak. We ourselves may be the only 'Living' Bible that some people ever see.

Thirdly, and equal in importance, those who are called to send

If you do not need to call on the name of the Lord for your salvation, and if you do not feel called to go, then you are called to send. Scripture gives us no other option or category.

We send those who are called to go to 'they who need to call,' that is to the unreached peoples of the world.

In the military and especially in the air force, it is a fact that for every pilot flying in the front line battle, another 400 men and women are needed in the background to supply him with everything from food, to training, accommodation, communications and ammunition.

Sending is a vital call and not at all second-class or a secondary occupation. Those who are called to go can hardly function without a sending structure, and conversely those that have a sending structure behind them are able to function effectively and efficiently and for a long time.

A true story of two girls

Donna received the call of God to mission in her late teenage years. She shared this with her local church who advised her, prayed for her and did all they could for her through years of Bible training, short-term missions experiences and the learning of valuable medical skills. When she was finally sent she left with a team of prayers, givers and pastors behind her.

Ann responded to the call of God in a church which showed little interest in her faith and vision. When she went for training no mention was made, no prayer was prayed, no goodbye and God bless you was given, and no support was offered, except what might be given by people now and again. As she matured and won victories of faith, only God and her close colleagues on the field saw and applauded.

One girl was sent and one 'went.' One girl went through years of hard preparation with lots of hugs and care, and one girl went through years of hard preparation with agonies, loneliness, insufficiency, poverty and frequent despair. By the grace of God both girls have become superb missionaries and can look forward to a lifetime of being a blessing. Donna serves in East Africa and Ann's heart is for war-torn Eastern Europe.

Which girl was hugged and which girl suffered, and why was that?

What does it mean to be a sending church?

When God calls people to go from your church, let's remember that sending into mission means much more than a goodbye service and a prayer.

Neal Pirolo in his excellent book, "Serving as Senders" (ISBN 1-85078-199-0) teaches that a sending church will give this kind of encouragement:

Moral Support – positive encouragement for people to leave career, money-making, family and security to follow if Christ is calling.

Practical Support – the help that is needed to get men and women on their way, renting their home, overseeing their affairs and family left behind, packing their belongings and a thousand other ways too.

Financial Support – to keep and equip them on the field not in poverty and just enough, but with an adequate income to do the job.

Prayer Support – organised intercession to protect and bless them in life and work, not just a routine mention of them in the Sunday service.

Communications Support – regular letters, e-mails and parcels are vital to keep the missionary family in the church family as extensions of home, not amputations from home.

Re-entry Support – is very necessary to help missionaries re-adjust to home life on their breaks and when they finally return. It is a fact that coming home can cause far more culture-shock and stress than going!

Finally, let's overhear a conversation from Isaiah 6, 1-8

Young Isaiah found himself in the Spirit, entering into the worship of heaven and facing the holiness of the Lord Almighty. In such a presence he understood his own sinfulness and felt lost. Only after an angel had touched him could he recover, and then he overheard the conversation between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"Whom shall I send, Who will go for us?"

We can imagine young Isaiah knocking on the door and saying, "Excuse me, Sir, I am sorry but I could not help but overhear what you were asking."

"Here am I, send me."

This was the voice and the words of young Isaiah 2,760 years ago, but if we listen carefully we will hear the same voice today, only this time it is the voice not of young Isaiah but of young Africa, young India and young South America.

They have the same call, they offer the same response, they have the same hope – Send Me!

God said to young Isaiah – Go, and made it possible for him. Today God works through the Body of Christ – the Church, whose responsibility it is to recognise those who are called to go, and to send them thus fulfilling a vital role in the Great Commission.

Oswald Smith, renowned author of A Passion for Souls and the pastor of People's Church in Toronto, which years ago sent hundreds of people into world mission said,

"If you can't go yourself, for God's sake send someone else in your place."

They did and went into the history books of the 20th century.

The truth is that a local church is not limited to sending it's own members into mission to those who need to call upon the Lord. It can adopt a missionary from another church and work in partnership with them as do the fishermen in the boats. It can adopt a missionary from distant Africa, from Asia or from Latin America and work together in rewarding partnership.

One small local village church, Riverside in England:

  • Sent Philippe in Burkina Faso – and thousands heard the gospel.
  • Sent John in India – and a new unreached tribe was discovered.
  • Sent Samuel in India – and now Jesus is preached in the jungles.

Jesus said and still says:

The time has come, the Kingdom is near. Repent, believe, follow me – and I will make you fishers of men.

Will we allow Him to do so by sending men and women to go and preach to those they who need to call upon the Lord?

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