We will increase the global and local influence of our churches by encouraging engagement with worldwide ministries and helping churches to better impact their communities.
By David Roller
Connect the Global Church
There was a time when there were some 200 free Methodist missionaries, and they were all from North America. Due to the spectacular growth of the international church there are now some 900,000 Free Methodists in those places. In a technical sense those 900,000 are not all missionaries, but in a practical sense they are. That kind of growth is a game-changer and it makes us re-think how we engage together in the global task.
Regardless of how we name them, the reality is that 13/14ths of the Free Methodist Church is outside the US borders. The good news is that the 13/14ths church is spectacularly positioned to minister in those places better than we are: They know the language, they understand the culture, they already have relationships, and they’re evangelistically fruitful. They’re perfect missionaries!
They know the language, they understand the culture, they already have relationships, and they’re evangelistically fruitful.
So is our missionary task done? Have we fulfilled our part of the great commission? Can we fold our arms and settle into our easy chairs?
Of course not, we will always send missionaries. But what does change is how we go about the mission. The presence of the 900,000 means that in most places our N. American missionaries are deployed to maximize the efforts of the international church. They often do this through teaching and training, or through ministries of mercy and community development, or other supporting role. There are still places where there is no national church to serve, so the missionaries take a pioneer role, but in most places there is a national church, and then service becomes more and more the missionaries’ assignment.
Perhaps the most important lessons that the US church needs to learn can be taught to us by the international church.
The other significant result of the 13/14ths church is that they can reciprocate and teach us, too. In fact, perhaps the most important lessons that the US church needs to learn can be taught to us by the international church: lessons on prayer, lessons on the Lordship of Jesus over their lives, lessons on suffering, lessons on materialism, lessons on joy, lessons on persecution.
It’s a circle of poetic beauty, isn’t it? That the offspring of the tireless work of missionaries may actually be able to speak words of vitality and mission back into the very church that sent those missionaries, is a thing of beauty.
All churches participate in the mission of God. All churches engage in God’s mission, near and far, around the corner and around the globe. We are greatly encouraged that we don’t do this alone! It’s not just 1/14th of us on this task…it’s all 14/14ths of us!
We should because our task is to pursue the mission of God, not just have organizations, i.e. church buildings. The world has moved into our neighborhoods – we must respond with compassion and wisdom.
After attending E2 and realizing how large and growing the FM church is internationally….meanwhile in many towns all over the U.S. There are churches barely keeping their doors open….Yes, I would say that we could learn something from our brothers and sisters in other countries.
Yes. Our cities are international and the places where the church is growing the fastest are outside the US. There is a way to do it and we are doing it in Toledo Ohio.