Tuesday, July 1, 1997
Today was the first day of consultations after the beautiful and moving opening ceremonies the previous night. The Local Church Pastors consultation is being held at Living Word Church, also the location for two other consultations, Church Planters and Arts and Worship. I arrived at the church amidst the hustle and bustle not unlike a train station. Some trying find where to go, some trying to register, and some trying to get their manuals (including myself). The manuals of course, had to be a priority since they contained the meal tickets. This all went on with the kind, helpful and patient volunteers giving the needed assistance to everyone.
All three consultations met in the large but very comfortable sanctuary with theater-type seats that looked like overstuffed chairs. There was a wonderful time of praise and worship followed by a devotional from the churches pastor, Nevill Norden.
The two other consultations left the sanctuary to go to their respective places of meeting. However, this was only temporary, since it turned out that there were too many people in the Church Planters consultation to fit into the room planned for them. Therefore, a few moments were lost while the Local Pastors and Church Planters consultations swapped locations. As Willie Crew, Director of the World Mission Centre International of South Africa) said, "What a wonderful problem to have: not enough space".
After getting settled into our new home, which had just enough room for everyone, we started off the meeting with Willie Crew sharing. He stated that the local church is the key to world evangelization. We must see the church mobilized for world evangelization We have majored on the minors and minored on the majors. The task of the Great Commission has to be the priority of the church. The church can focus on the task and still see the development of a loving church body. The church is like an unlit stick of dynamite. It must be lit, when it is, look out. We must be willing to share what God has given us and not keep it too ourselves. We must begin now to use what God has given each one of us.
Lynda Choch? She challenged the group with the question, "what does it mean to finish the task of the Great Commission? She pointed out that Dallas, Texas, is the most Christianized city in the US. However the statistics show little meaningful impact on the city. Jesus completed His job, but ours is not done. God is glorified by us finishing the task that we each have been given. The task is to reach every creature with the gospel and to disciple them. Salvation is not the whole gospel, they must also be discipled before the gospel is complete.
Willie Crew shared again, he stated that the church has no right to exist without missions and missions has no right to exist without the local church. The Great Commission states that we are to be His witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the outer most parts of the world. We need to be doing this as a simultaneous action. We can do this immediately through prayer. It's not linear doing Jerusalem before Judea etc.. Jerusalem is equivalent to your city, Judea is equivalent to your country and Samaria is equivalent to your continent. We are so inward focused that we do not see the need of the world. Willie said that "You don't need a word from the Lord to go, you need a word from the Lord to stay. Your whole congregation should be willing to go on short term mission trips.
We then saw a video made by the World Mission Centre in South Africa. It was titled the "The final Countdown GCOWE 97". It was a good video showing the need of the unreached peoples of the world. It also showed how churches can reach a region of the world through networking around a region of the world.
David Bliss got up to share on the Biblical Basis of Missions. He went through several scriptures beginning with Gen12:1-3, going on through to Revelation. He pointed out that God will complete His Church. We have to decide if we are going to be a blessing and receive the blessing. He showed through scriptures like Psalm 67, it is very clear that we receive blessings from God for the purpose of being a blessing to the nations.
The AD2000 Communications Director got up and shared that the words and terms that we use in missions and specifically the AD2000 and Beyond Movement, can be very confusing. So he went through with the group on how to use the glossary of terms within their manuals.
After lunch the whole afternoon was dedicated to the topic of developing a Faith Promise budget within your church to aid in the furtherance of the gospel.
During the report from the intercessors it was shared by brother Lawrence Khong (head intercessor for the Local Church Pastors consultation) how God has shown him the need for repentance and reconciliation. He publicly apologized for his pride and the prejudice of his people. Others also sought forgiveness and there was a powerful time of personal repentance and weeping before the Lord.
The evening session concluded with George Verwer challenging the Local Church Pastors to take seriously their effort in the Great Commission. He asked those who wanted to recommit their lives toward serving the Lord to come forward for prayer. Almost all came forward.
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