Missional Focus in Local Church
By Ron Dazell, Evangelical Bible Church, Dickinson, ND
Our church was busting at the seams ten years ago. We began planning a building project which involved purchasing land and doubling our square footage. Good business sense suggested we direct all available funding into our building project, but instead we first made a shift in our approach to missions. We multiplied our missions budget dramatically and intentionally narrowed our focus to a smaller number of foreign missionaries in whom we could invest relationally. We chose to tithe ten percent of all offerings to our missions budget and add to that a monthly missions offering.
As a church, we no longer give a small amount to a large number of missionaries. Instead, we invest heavily into a few. Anybody can write a check, but it takes real commitment to come alongside a missionary family relationally.
I have traveled to New Hope Uganda six times in the past four years to provide pastoral care for our missionary families, and God has even blessed me with an opportunity to teach pastors in rural Uganda. Our church has also sent teams to do significant home repairs and building projects for our missionaries, and we have begun assisting them with housing when they return for furlough. Foreign missions can be lonely and exhausting work. Missionaries are often misunderstood and neglected. Our church works hard to understand their unique situations and share their burdens in a tangible way.
This missions approach has also benefited our church at home. Our congregation enjoys increased awareness of our missionary families. They actually know our missionaries. As a result, I have seen our people develop greater compassion, deeper passion, and more vigorous pursuit of the Great Commission at home and around the world. We all have a part to play in Kingdom work, and we need everybody to be in the game.
I thank the CCCC USA Missions Committee for assisting me with the Phillips Bequest Fund for my most recent pastoral visit to Uganda. I pray our local churches will be healthy enough to make maximum impact in the global gospel work.