Summary: Some churches are so focused on overseas missions that they miss the mission field in their own backyard. Jesus said we’d be his witnesses at home as well as abroad.
Missions in Our Backyard
QUOTE: Oswald Smith "The light that shines farthest shines brightest near home"
Churches so focused on overseas they neglected their own mission - declined and closed!
Acts 1:8 You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Interpreted culturally - family/friends, others like us, other sub-cultures, cross cultural
We do not have to choose between local and global, Jesus said we would do both
How can we be missionaries (a missionary church) in our own backyard?
John 14.12-14 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
ILL: Several years ago our worship team was getting depleted and a few were carrying a heavy load. Andrea and I decided to pray specifically for a guitar playing worship leader. M + C were the answer to our prayer!
ILL: In South Africa in the Summer of 2004, with the help of some sponsors, evangelist Peter Sekhonyane put up a 300-seater tent to facilitate a 24-hour prayer watch in one of the 20 extensions and outer villages of Orange Farm. For three weeks he intensively trained Christians of all churches on prayer and the principles of 24-hour prayer. After three weeks, he decided to move the tent to the next extension, to repeat the process there. In October 2004 seven of these 24/7 prayer watches were up and running at an average of 15 hours per day. Then they combined efforts to launch a week of real 24-hour prayer.
At the end of the week of combined prayer Peter went to the police service station to ask how it went crime-wise during that week. According to their statistics something strange happened: in seven of the 20 extensions there was nearly no crime - exactly the seven in which 24-7 prayer was going on!
Something special then started to happen. People from townships from across the country started to ask for help. Peter and his team received people from Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, the Cape Flats, Free State, Soweto and Zimbabwe to train and equip. These groups came for a week or two to experience for themselves what is happening and receive training. Afterwards they returned home to start similar 24/7 prayer watches in their own areas.
As a result of all these prayers crime was declining in the townships. The police asked Peter and his team to come and help in one of the outer villages where crime and violence were rampant. Peter started a prayer watch there. After about two weeks, crime declined rapidly and was brought under control!
A second encouraging thing is that people have been coming to the Lord as a result of these prayer watches. Prayer is now taken to the people and some are prayed for in their homes! The number of salvations seem to be going up compared to the previous evangelisation outreaches. The positive part is that significant numbers of new believers can now be discipled as they regularly come to pray at the prayer watch. Their chance to backslide is much smaller. It is also surprising to see that most of the new converts are young people.