You might not know it, but part of my job description is to mobilize the Church at Sunsites for world mission (Bylaws IV.2.b.xi). The responsibility is biblical because every Christian is to do the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the pastors of the church are to train the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). This year, the congregation will discuss and set its own vision for 2021. But, over the last two years I have emphasized missions and outreach. Those emphases were not on accident. When I started in 2018, I went to work figuring out how to mobilize The Church at Sunsites for world mission. There are two parts to my missional responsibility as an elder (along with the other elders) at this local church. 1) I am to mobilize the local church, not merely ask it to give money to the cooperative program of the SBC or CBA. 2) I am to mobilize The Church at Sunsites around the world, beginning in the Sulfur Springs Valley. I wish you could know how difficult a task this really is and how many people hate the work that goes into fulfilling such a responsibility. After two years of laying the groundwork, monotonous work that is largely invisible to most, I hope to mobilize the church in two ways: (1) locally through our deacon ministry’s benevolence fund, and (2) by directly sharing the Gospel with people in nations around the world.
Some of you might recall a Wednesday evening in 2019 in which we talked with a pastor in Liberia who began following the ministry of The Church at Sunsites and began modeling his own church after the church here. That meeting was the result of my striving to fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to me by the congregation here in Sunsites. Well, I guess we stumbled upon a worldwide need by accident. I started investing some of my time and money in Christians and ministries around the world. Then, some of you wanted to start contributing too. Upon researching liability issues connected with world mobilization, I realized a need to incorporate the work that accidentally began. The Church at Sunsites did not have the appropriate corporate structure for us to do anything more than give to missions organizations or go on short-term mission trips. The work I had stumbled upon and the need for long-term mobilization was impossible.
I remembered our elders’ trip to Shepherds’ Conference earlier in 2019. I remembered hearing that MacArthur’s church was able to mobilize in the way that happened upon me. How did Grace Community Church accomplish such mobilization for the Gospel? I discovered that the church was doing work through two parachurch corporations, Master’s Seminary and Grace to You. I’m a logistician, so I was able to put the pieces together and see how the machine worked pretty easily. It was genius and still promoted the local church instead of parachurch organizations, which is biblical. I had a blog that I operated for nine years, which had some similarities to Grace to You. So, I experimented by filing articles of incorporation under the name of the blog for a public charity for the purpose of worldwide education, training, and benevolence. I received my incorporated statue and tax-exempt status, and suddenly had a parachurch ministry (which is really simply a glorified blog) that provides the infrastructure needed to mobilize the Church at Sunsites for world mission in ways most churches cannot because they don’t have the structure necessary.
I spent a year-and-a-half making contacts and building rapport–which cost me almost no time. Hundreds of people a day started contacting me and poring over the teaching coming out of The Church at Sunsites (I had to do some major shifting to limit the amount of people trying to contact me). I didn’t bring the church in because I really didn’t know exactly what was happening. I started personally investing in pastors around the world and their ministries because they started coming to me. Some of you have been very eager to get involved. This year, it’s time for me to bring the church alongside me in the work that I did not plan if the congregation desires to be involved. Because of the infrastructure I developed and parachurch status, mobilizing for world missions costs TCATS nothing financially.
I will bring this up as we talk about our vision on January 14. Before that, and because of the Gospel work through TCATS, I am meeting with about 50 pastors and church leaders in Kenya via Zoom. The churches there have many needs and are struggling with the doctrines of Heaven and Hell, baptism, and speaking in tongues. You don’t know it, but you have been accidentally investing in these pastors for about a year now. I would love for you to meet them if you are able. You can come to the church at 5am on Monday, January 11, 2021 or register and attend via Zoom (no cost). Why so early? 5am here is 3pm in Kenya. Click here to register if you would like to attend from home.
When I came in view of a call in 2018 and told the church I was interested in church planting, the congregation members responded with their desire that I (1) get a PhD, (2) put myself out there and publish, and (3) mobilize the church for world mission. I could not have laid this groundwork without you. May the Gospel continue to flourish through The Church at Sunsites. May our work in our own community and around the world light up the darkness. May we be the lighthouse in the desert.