Let’s be honest - the world is a strange place. Our daily routines cover up this reality with our brains filtering through the billions of odd happening each day and stringing them together as a daily routine story. Yet if we stop and really, really look we will see the strangeness around us. Small little customs and practices that showcase a cultural connection with those around us. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with this shared oddness, it does pose a challenge for those of us who answer the call of the Spirit to tell the tribes, nations, and people groups of the world about the Creator King and his love.
Thanks to the generous gifts of many donors, the US Vineyard Missions Sri Lanka Partnership was able to raise enough funds to purchase necessary food packages for 78 families who lost loved ones during the Easter morning bombings in Sri Lanka. We want to express our, and their, gratitude to all who contributed to this mission of mercy.
As I’ve been having conversations with people about some opportunities our church has in relation to global mission trips, I’m often asked what specifically we would be doing. While everyone who has been on a mission trip knows that the most important beatitude for missionaries is “Blessed are the flexible,” that doesn’t help ease the anxiety of potential participants!
Holy Week is an important time for the Church, and Vineyards across the globe spend time remembering Jesus’ last days on this earth. Good Friday reminds us of the death of Jesus, a central aspect of the message of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-6). This is one of the most important messages we who engage in missions can share with the world around us. Why? Because the death of Jesus is how God communicated his deep love for people (Rom. 5:8).
Throughout history, the followers of Jesus of Nazareth have held different views regarding world evangelism. Some groups have focused solely on the spiritual nature of humanity, while others have striven to create a world of peace and equality. Unfortunately, most views on world evangelism, or world missions as it is commonly called, are a reduced version of the Scriptural mandate to “preach the kingdom of God” to all nations (Mt 10:7, 28:18-20, Mk 16:15, Lk 9:2, Acts 1:3, 8). The hope of this article (and associated paper) is to enlarge the current views of world missions, while staying true to the central message of Jesus, namely that the Kingdom of God has come, is coming, is drawing near, and yet is delayed.
As you are likely aware by now, churches worshiping on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, in six locations across Sri Lanka in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa, were interrupted as coordinated bomb attacks ripped through the churches and top-end hotels where they were meeting on this special day, killing more than 250 Christians (and perhaps visitors).
Does anybody actually feel excitement when the term “fundraising” is thrown around at a staff meeting and then featured in Sunday’s announcements? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just pay for everybody to go do the stuff God’s planted in the hearts of our short-term teams to do in our missions partnerships?
A common challenge for Christians looking to engage in global missions is, quite frankly, the cost! When you add up the price of flights, housing, food, and other expenses, the financial aspect of doing missions can feel like a huge obstacle for some, not to mention if a church is looking to send a team of people! In fact, I’ve found that one of the first things people worry about as they are wrestling with whether or not they should go on a mission trip is whether or not they will be able to afford going! And this says nothing about churches simply raising financial support for full-time missionaries or missional work in other countries!