Can the American church have tangible, genuine impact on the work of global missions? How can the local church use the resources and abilities they have to encourage and promote global missions? In this video, Mark Dever and David Platt discuss the influence of the local church on global missions. No matter the size of the church, it should be first and foremost committed to displaying God’s glory, and one of the ways the local church can do that is by practically participating in global missions, such as through finances, donations, and time spent on mission trips. However, Dever and Platt simultaneously agree that another key task of the local church is to equip believers for evangelism and to be faithful in their location. As churches faithfully make disciples and prepare members for evangelism, these opportunities can prompt church members to pursue cross-cultural friendships and evangelistic opportunities both in the United States and abroad.
- Displaying God’s Glory
- Inviting Participation from the Local Church’s
- Equipping for Local Evangelism
- Being Faithful
So going, baptizing, teaching them, we do this in all nations. So what role does the local church have in global missions?
The Importance of Global Missions and the Local Church
We want to present the hugeness of God’s vision, what He’s doing, that He is about getting glory to Himself in the whole world, that He has a time when He is going to have His praises being sung and the praises of the Lamb who was slain, with people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation, and that He has ordained that that will happen through the witness of Christians, the witness of those people who know Christ, taking it verbally to other people. And as Al Muller said at that Together for the Gospel conference a couple of weeks ago, that proximity to them then has to be accompanied with words, actually speaking to them.
So you and I as local church pastors are to inform people of this great vision and invite them into it by many means, by their prayers, by their giving, by their going short-term, long-term, by their helping others who go, by scheming and strategizing for the expansion of gospel work and planting of gospel churches.
How has that played out at Capitol Hill? Because I know, I’m just, I’m thankful for how the Lord sovereignly has crossed our paths, the paths of Capitol Hill and Brook Hills and some different places around the world, in Central Asia, for example, that we never could have planned. So how does that play out at Capitol Hill? Just some ways, practical ways.
I would’ve been a terrible communist. I’m not good at five-year plans. I’m more like pray and teach and stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff into them, and then it just bursts out in lots of ways that I don’t-
See what happens.
… yeah, that I don’t plan. So some of the things that we’ve seen God do, we’ve seen organizations raised up to try to encourage preachers. So 9Marks, Together for the Gospel, another group that I won’t name but that helps get people in more difficult countries certain ways that are legal and legitimate, other kind of gospel partnerships of local evangelism, but local evangelism that also will help to reach especially unreached peoples.
The Unreached People Around the World
In the United States these days, every major metropolitan area will have representatives of unreached peoples, and those representatives are sometimes the key people to reach back into that people group. I remember, oh, several years ago now, a brother coming to us from Australia, wanting us to help sponsor him to go to Phoenix because he wanted to reach Japan.
And in his studies, Japan, very closed country to the gospel, not legally closed but culturally very closed, been unresponsive with lots of Christian witness. And yet he found the largest group of expats, and that was what, 10 years ago, in the world of Japanese, at the time that was increasing, was Phoenix. And so he wanted to move there and try to plant a church among the Japanese in order to reach Japan.
So there’s lots of ways that even when we’re in North America, when we’re in American cities, there are things, certainly if you’re in an American college or university, you can just relate to all your friends that look just like you that are from your same county. Or you can decide self-consciously to go with a person who speaks broken English or to try to learn their language and spend time with them on Friday night. Show them what an American would do.
Try to get to know them and build them into your life. Invite them home with you for Thanksgiving or for the holidays. We found such powerful witness among students in Washington. And we have students coming from very closed countries, but when we just open them up and receive them to our homes, help them with the language, help them with living here and teaching the gospel, we have seen month by month, sometimes week by week conversions-
… that bear great fruit.
How Should We Send People into Missions?
So when it comes to the average local church thinking, “How can we send people out,” whether it’s in global emissions or just training up pastors and church leaders, what kind of counsel would you give to brothers to think, “Yes, I want to shepherd,” so talking about pastors or church leaders in particular here, “We want to lead this church responsibly, but we want to have a view toward multiplying churches and sending people out.” Should that be there in church leaders? And if so, how can they cultivate that?
Yeah, if someone doesn’t have that, they should not be an elder or a pastor in a church. So that’s a non-negotiable. Now, if you’re just ignorant and you need to be instructed, then that’s fine, but if there is a resistance or you know about it and you’re disinterested, you really shouldn’t be serving as an elder. You will have some serious accounting to give, I think. So I don’t think you want to be in that position before the Lord. I’d just step aside from that.
Mind your own family and let some others step into that kind of role. I think if you’re in what you’re calling a normal church or an average church, there is just a ton to do that’s wonderful. I think sometimes I just know from talking to pastors all the time, some pastors will look at other churches and they’ll think, “Oh, Brook Hills can do all this stuff, but we’re not big like them. We don’t have those kind of resources.” Well, that just means there’s different things you’re supposed to do. So David has all these kind of resources, but these pastors will be responsible for these. And praise God for Secret Church. Praise God for Radical and the things you’re trying to do through this ministry, great things to do, your responsibility, your accountability.
The guy, what he feels the average church, he’s going to have other responsibilities. Just like every part of the body has different gifts, you’re going to have gifts that you are responsible for. I mean, you couldn’t be a pastor of a more average church than I was coming to Capitol Hill, 130 people, mainly in their 70s and 80s, in a not great area at the time of the city. And I didn’t do anything extraordinary, just trying to preach and pray and evangelize. And I would just say, “Be faithful in those things that you can see to do now and step forward, teach others, lead them to step forward and see what God will show you next.”
Brother, I praise God for how that right there by His grace has played out at Capitol Hill.
And Mark’s mentioned on a few different occasions 9Marks. You may or may not be familiar with 9Marks, but 9marks.org is the website, isn’t that right? Yeah, the number 9marks.org. And I know pastorally as well as our church leaders, it’s part of this discussion we’re having among elders tonight, have just benefited tremendously from the resources that God by His grace … And it’s not just Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It’s a whole, really, network of churches, leaders-
You guys help out tremendously.
… well, who are together on many things, who may even have some differences on some things, but who want to see healthy churches. And so there’s just a wealth of resources there that I would highly recommend. So Mark, thanks for this time.
Thank you, brother.
Always enjoy talking about these things.
Well, just thanks for leading by example in these things, the fruit of your life. I’m just thankful for God’s grace in you.
Thank you guys for spending some time with us, and I hope this was beneficial in some way, in different ways, in different people’s lives, whether it’s just as you follow after Christ, as you are even considering following Christ or as you lead in the church. I pray that God will grant you great grace in any one of those processes for His glory in and through you in all nations.