The heart of our mission
When Pentecostal revival broke at the turn of the last century, the Holy Spirit immediately began to call men and women to take the precious gospel of Jesus around the world. The Assemblies of God was formed in 1914 largely to be a missionary movement.
The new Fellowship’s churches were united in the cause of obeying our Lord’s Great Commission, enabling us to do together what we couldn’t possibly do separately. Early leaders passed the following resolution: “Whereas, in the providence of God there have sprung up spontaneously in this movement throughout the country, Pentecostal centers, and … monies for missionary purposes are being sent to these centers and distributed upon the missionary field, therefore be it resolved, that the presbytery be instructed to seek to bring about a more perfect cooperation among these centers, in the matter of distribution of missionary funds, and the sending out of missionaries, with a view to greater efficiency.”
The highest priority of our missions dollars is still the monthly support of our missionary family. The heart of our mission is and always will be divinely called missionaries who leave homeland, family and friends to take their children and live in a foreign land, identify with the culture, learn a new language, and love and reach people with the message of Christ.
God is our source and continues to provide through the generosity and even sacrificial giving of His people to meet the need. In response, both those who give and those who receive share in the blessing. As the apostle Paul said to his only supporting church at Philippi, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (Philippians 4:17, NASB).
Though we do not recruit missionaries, increasing numbers of people are coming to us with a divine call. Our responsibility is not to place or transfer missionaries based on demographic studies, but to send them where the Spirit calls them. A recent study showed the greatest general increase in our Assemblies of God missionary personnel is in areas of the world that have the lowest percentage of Christian believers. This is not because of in-depth population statistics, but because the Holy Spirit knows where the need is and calls those who are willing to serve.
Ours is a Spirit-driven mission. The Assemblies of God has no recruiting program, because the Holy Spirit calls our missionaries. I never cease to wonder and give praise to God at the unique, sovereign, divine calling the Holy Spirit places upon each life.
Increasingly, risk has become a major factor in our missions outreach. The world offers few easy opportunities and safe places for proclaiming the message of our Lord. Anti-Christian sentiments, compounded by anti-American hostility, create nearly overwhelming pressures for our national brothers and sisters and our missionaries serving in many countries. I believe when we get to heaven we will learn our Lord commissioned a host of angels to protect our missionaries where they served. Yet, as God’s Word reveals and life affirms, there are no guarantees we will not suffer hardship in our service for the Master.
Please pray earnestly for the safety of the missionaries you support. Bring them before the throne of grace regularly. We know from God’s Word our prayers are effective. We are commanded to pray, and many missionaries report regularly of the power of answered prayer in ways that are directly connected to the support of their prayer partners back in the homeland.
Our prayers for missionaries and their efforts around the world should contain not only petitions for God’s continued intervention, but also thanksgiving and praise from hearts of faith. He is sustaining His people in response to our intercession.
L. JOHN BUENO
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