• ON BEING A SENDING CHURCH

    by Shawn Merithew on September 15, 2010

    Have you ever stopped to think how good we have become at “receiving?”  It’s not hard.  In fact, we like it, and we benefit from it.  When we are born, we receive care and love and the basics of life from our parents.  As we grow, we receive teaching and nourishment and direction from our loved ones and other authorities in our lives.  As adults, we receive love from family members, our spouse, or our children.  We receive material things through our labors.  We receive satisfaction and entertainment through our many pursuits.

    We receive a lot spiritually as well.  We receive salvation and the indwelling of Christ when we repent and believe in Jesus (John 1:12,16).  We receive direction and grow as disciples as we receive the Word through reading, study, teaching, and preaching.  We receive care and shepherding from our spiritual leaders and through our church family.  In fact, we receive blessing after blessing after blessing from God in so many different ways.

    Many Christians, however, fail to receive the blessings that come from giving and sacrificing and sending.  It sounds almost like an oxymoron, but Scripturally, it couldn’t be more true.  God has given to us an abundance of blessings, and we have been called to embody His character and obey His will by by giving and sacrificing and sending, for His glory and for the good of others.

    Admittedly, this is harder for us.  We prefer to receive.  Giving sacrificially of our finances to support God’s work can be challenging.  Giving quality time for the sake of devotion and ministry to others can be quite difficult.  Sharing the gospel with unbelieving neighbors and friends can be down-right scary.  Giving our children and grandchildren to ministry and to the mission field can be agonizing.  But it shouldn’t be that way.  Notice in all these instances that I said it “can” be, not that it has to be.  In fact, when we foster a biblical perspective, these can be some of the most joyous times of our lives.

    Sitting, soaking, and souring is not God’s design for His people.  God blesses us so that His name and His salvation may be known on the earth (Gen 12, Psa 67).  God delights in children who reflect His giving nature, who trust in His hand even in difficult circumstances, and who gladly surrender their all for the sake of His name.  Thus, we should delight in being a people who not only “receive,” but who also “send” for the glory of His name.

    In light of recent events, we have two important areas where we can manifest the joy of sending.  First, our missions conference was an incredible blessing.  It was so edifying to spend time with our missionaries and to be challenged by the truth of God’s Word.  We have the joy of partnering with some incredible families who are planted on the foreign fields, and we should pray that God will raise up more laborers from among us.  It would be such a blessing to be able to see some of our adults, some of our children, and some of our grandchildren heed God’s call to reach the unreached with the Gospel.  Pray now for Him to equip and call people to these international fields from our very own church family.

    A second opportunity we have to be a sending church comes as we raise up biblically equipped Pastors who will go and shepherd sister churches.  This past month, we sent three more of our young people off to seminary, to receive the training they will need to serve God in vocational ministry.  Pray for Jon, Rebecca, and Jordan as they settle in to their studies.
    Also, we have the privilege of sending the Breedlove family to our sister church in Opp, Alabama.  Randy and Missy and their children have been blessings to our church family in numerous ways.  We have “received” much from them and they have “received” much from us.  Though we will miss them greatly, we rejoice over the opportunity to send them to a field where their gifts are needed.  The congregation in Opp will benefit greatly from having a pastor who loves and preaches the Word.   and from a pastor’s wife who is so encouraging and loving.  This Sunday will be their last Sunday with us, and we will have a Send-Off Celebration with the Breedloves this Sunday evening.  Make sure you are here to encourage them and to experience the joy of “sending” them forth.  I love you all!

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