My good friend, Vivek, brought the thunder yesterday with a strong word from Acts 16:6-40 to Follow God’s Spirit. Vivek in a friend and an international partner we support. The sermon was challenging as Vivek’s aim was to encourage us to “prayerfully follow Jesus’ Spirit to see God’s kingdom break into your daily reality.” It was a call to live life on mission. And, I was convicted and encouraged. What a great word. Check out the sermon and hear the challenge for yourself.
There are many priorities that we can easily build into the life of a local church culture. As a pastor, I juggle many of these often. And, I’ve found it difficult over time to clarify which priorities are worthy of my time and which ones aren’t. Enter God’s Word. God’s Word is meant to help pastors like me navigate how things are to be ordered in the church (1 Timothy 3:15). I came to a deep conviction from Scripture recently because an entire book of the Bible encourages churches to care for cross-cultural partners. Here’s the passage:
You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.  For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.  Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. (3 John 6-8)
So, we took some steps at our local church to help support these who have gone out for the sake of the Name. These are ones who, by and large, are working in another culture to advance the good news among those who don’t know it.
Some things we’ve done:
1) Change your domain name so that it’s not “churchy.” We transitioned from crestviewbiblechurch.org to crestviewhutch.org to serve those who are in “forward” areas. Recently, I spoke at an agency that supports international partners and they told me that one thing churches could easily do would be to not list names on the website. I get it, right? We want our church people to know who these partners are. We’re assuming that our people are combing over our internet content consistently. And, for the most part, they’re not. We can find better ways to connect our people to our partners than through a webpage.
2) Develop relationships. I’ve tried, as a lead pastor, to visit each of our partners where they serve. There’s something unique that is stirred up by seeing them serve in their context. It’s been helpful to me in helping our people in praying, knowing their needs, and caring for them. But, I try to take every opportunity to deepen relationships. When we travel near then, I try to connect with them. When I learn that they’ll be in our area, we set up lunch or dinner and rope in our people to these connections. We try to get them to stay with our people for long stretches. We connect their hobbies to the hobbies of our people. You don’t have to overthink this, but you should probably think about this. Deepen these relationships.
3) Figure out your church’s part of Great Commission work. The best thing we’ve done as a church is to figure out what God has called us to do (mission) and how we go about doing it (values). We used my good friend Matthew Ellison and 16:15 to help facilitate this process, building out of Crestview’s history and how God has wired us for this cross-cultural work. Our people were energized and had a reason to develop relationships.
You’ve been given a role as a church (3 John 6-8 again!) to serve these partners well. So, consider how you might up your game in this regard. And, step in to this practice for the sake of His name and His glory among the nations.
From 16:15 —
Free Webinar | Wed. Oct 19, 2016 | 12 Noon MT
With Phil Auxier of Crestview Church
Is Your Church Set Apart?
Many of us feel the Great Commission is a good, even great, idea. But, what characterizes a church that is devoted to such things? This webinar will explore how one church mobilized for the mission helps her people to be drawn to the Great Commission ideas.
I’m also going to be joined by Elizabeth Wood, who coordinates Tide Travelers, our church’s attempt to create a global vision in the hearts of children.
If you’re able, join us by registering here.
I’ve very excited about this graphic we’re releasing today at Crestview Bible Church. This graphic captures so much of the heartbeat of what our church is about and this just highlights the international/cross-cultural reach of our partnerships. I hope this encourages you and helps fan the flame of God’s glory going worldwide. By the way, for every dollar given to Crestview’s general budget, roughly 17% goes to international, cross-cultural partnerships and endeavors. On top of that, our people have given $9054 for projects around the world. Praising God that such things could happen through our people. I hope you’re encouraged, too.
Today, I’m privileged to be a part of the C.A.N. Conference at AVANT.
We’ve been anticipating this coming Sunday for a while (really since last year when we were in India). On 4/10, we’re excited to welcome Vivek and Luke, some international partners of ours in India to Crestview. We’re going to have a weekend to connect with them:
- Church Wide Meal Saturday, 4/9, at 6PM
- Sunday School, 4/10, at 9AM – Vivek sharing testimony, calling and about ministry
- Corporate Worship, 4/10, at 10:15AM – Phil, Luke and Vivek sharing about connections we have to the work taking place in India
There are all kinds of myths when it comes to the cross-cultural work that the church has been called to engage in. One of these has to do with the “native missionary” (or a missionary who grew up in the culture and Western church can support at a much cheaper rate than sending our own). Yes, Gospel partnerships need to be formed for the good of the global work. But, this kind of thinking and the practice that emerges from this kind of thinking can easily be abused as this story shows.
Here’s an episode from last year’s Mission Table that discusses To Send or Not To Send.
Engage with this content and consider what God might do through you. Or, as the Scriptures say, come, let us reason together…
My 2/14/16AM sermon, Imitate Good from 3 John is now online. I had a blast as this sermon wrapped up a long series on John’s letters as well as gave me a chance to preach with my friend Matthew Ellison. The sermon looked at the book of 3 John and its call for us to imitate good. We met three characters:
Gaius – a fellow worker
Diotrephes – a major problem
Demetrius – a fine example
After I unpacked this letter and the way it compels us to imitate good, Matthew came and fleshed out how we can apply this when it comes to serving those who have gone out for the sake of the name. I hope this sermon encourages you, too.
Here’s a post I wrote for our CBC H2Go blog entitled Working Together:
Too often, working together isn’t the reality when we think of church life. If we don’t like something that’s happening, we pack up our toys and head for the church down the road that is doing those things that we like (at least until the next thing we don’t care for pops up). But, God’s vision for the church is much more glorious. He envisions His people to be wholly engaged, working together for His purposes. Hear how this is described in Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” God’s vision then isn’t minimizing the diversity that exists, but to allow that individuality to shine as it comes together for one big purpose.
What can you strive to do today to be more wholly engaged to our body? What might need to change? What do you need to repent of? How might you need to act? Today, step into God’s vision and be wholly engaged in His work for you – His glory in a united church on mission under grace.