By Scott Logsdon
In international missions, our primary aim is the ongoing spread of the gospel in the world through the establishment and support of healthy churches. Here are three audiences to consider as your church supports international missions.
1. Gospel ministers
Gospel ministers can be either individual Christians or whole churches. Individual Christians are meant to be witnesses about Jesus and what He has done. They could also be individual Christian ministers who have devoted themselves to share the gospel full time.
Whole churches are especially good at proclaiming and displaying the gospel. They have a diversity of gifts at their disposal to meet certain challenges to the spread of the gospel. In addition, the activity of the church helps to explain the gospel. Activities like the Lord’s Supper and baptism display a picture of the gospel. So do the ways that Christians interact with one another. If you want to see what God’s love looks like, then nonbelievers should be able to look at the love Christians show. God’s forgiveness that is offered by the gospel should be visible within the church.
2. Unreached people and places
In Jesus Christ, God has made each of us in His church messengers to carry the gospel to those who have not yet heard. In the past 2,000 years, God has used His church to carry the gospel far and wide. But there are still many who have seemingly no access to hear about what Jesus Christ has done for them. By some estimates there are two billion people who have almost no access to the gospel and no church near them.
Yet, there are also many places, like large urban centers. where there is great need for more churches to display God’s goodness to the people who live there. If we focus our efforts of support on these areas, then we will give the people who live there greater opportunities to hear and understand the gospel of Jesus. Which brings us to our final audience.
3. Those who either have not yet heard the gospel or have not yet believed the gospel
This group may be the most obvious. Invest in relationships with these people and continue to share God’s truth. Even if someone does not respond or rejects the gospel message, God’s truth continues to go forth as promised in Isaiah 55:11.
Keep these three audiences in mind as you and your church consider how to support God’s mission in the world today.
Scott Logsdon, PhD, and his family served among Muslims and led twenty-six church-planting teams in five countries. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he serves as the associate vice president of training for the International Mission Board.