Occasionally I schedule a Missions Emphasis Sunday for our church. The purpose of the Sunday is representative of its name- to emphasize missions. Typically I have used this Sunday whenever I have missionaries scheduled to present their work while on deputation with the intention of adding them to our supported missions family. This past Sunday we were blessed to have two of our supported missionaries in the services to report what God has been doing in their respective ministries. We had a missionary from the continent of Africa in the morning service and a missionary from the continent of South America in the evening service. What a blessing this day was. I thought I would list some observations I made from our Missions Emphasis Sunday that might be helpful to others.
1. There are missionaries getting the job done. I believe there were twenty-two churches planted between both missionaries. Without a doubt, these men along with others are advancing the cause of Christ. Do not believe the naysayer that may say it can not be done or the critic who throws stones at missions efforts. There are men doing on foreign soil what men refuse to do on native soil.
2. These men are passionate soul winners. It seems odd to make a point about a missionary winning souls but sadly not all who go to foreign countries are passionate personal soul winners. It was a blessing to hear of personal souls won to Christ as well the training of an army of aggressive soul winners.
3. These men are men of conviction. One thing that resonated with me was that both men had paid a price due to their unwillingness to compromise. My greatest fear for the missionaries sent out of our church is that once they get to the field the pressure is put on them to “go along” for the sake of “missions”. It was obvious and evident that TRUTH was preeminent to these men. It saddened me to hear the personal testimony of the slander and persecution from the “brethren” because of a refusal to turn a blind eye to unscriptural beliefs and practices. However, it also excited me that the Immanuel Baptist Church has invested in men who will not “sell” the Truth for the sake of expediency.
4. These are humble men. While it is evident that God has blessed their ministries in a great way it was also obvious that they were not full of themselves. They have a spirit of meekness that we all should strive to obtain. These men were quick to give God the glory for what He has done.
5. They are separated men. It is obvious from observing their ministries from afar that these men set a good example by living a separated public life. From dress to music and associations these men and their families are good representatives of Jesus Christ. There are many reasons this is important but it gives me comfort that we have invested financially in a family who are what they represented themselves to be.
6. They are independent men. They are not independent of help, fellowship, or friendship but they were independent of control. These men were with two separate missions agencies but the missions agencies were a tool to assist and did not “own” their ministries nor run their respective churches. God had led these men and they are dependent on His continued leadership in their life.
7. These men are from different generations. One missionary was in his late fifty’s and the other was in his early thirties but both men are getting the job done. Neither man was interested in “dropping the ball” in their generation. Truth endureth to all generations.
8. God used these men to help our church. It was very encouraging to our church to hear what God is doing on two different continents. Having these men with us reminded us of the importance of our giving to missions and what it means to co-labor.
9. These men need us and we need them. Both men expressed their gratitude for our financial and prayer support. It is obvious that missionaries need us but sometimes I believe we fail to see that we need them. If we are going to reach the world with the Gospel we need men willing to go to the world. We also need them to keep us FOCUSED. Even though the Immanuel Baptist Church is a selfless and giving church a Mission Emphasis Sunday always helps us keep our focus on the main thing which is reaching the lost with the Gospel.
10. We need more willing to go. As I have already stated these men are doing the job. Both men expressed their number one need was laborers. These men are already winning men, training them and sending them out to start churches but time is short and the task is great. We need young people and couples willing to go somewhere in this world and be a pioneer for Christ. We need Christians who sit on their church pews to look at their community as their missions field and reach their neighbors with the Gospel. The whole world is the mission field including the town we live in. We need more willing to labor for souls.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.