There is nothing like eating tomatoes out of your own garden. “Store-bought” doesn’t come close. Yours actually tastes better. And there is the sense of fulfillment of having grown it yourself. The long process of planting, nurturing, fertilizing, supporting on stakes and finally harvesting, makes eating your own tomatoes an event. The same thing happens when you grow your own missionaries!
It is a generous and wonderful thing for a church to take on a new missionary for support. Most of the time, those new missionaries come from another local church and often from a different part of the country…. Almost “store-bought.” But what about sending one of your own people to the field? Wouldn’t it be exciting to see one of your own members heading for international ministries? If so, it will not happen by default. Two key ingredients will make this happen: (1) Families who are passionate about missions, and (2) Churches that are proactive in training leaders.
PASSIONATE FAMILIES: My dad was a missionary. He attributes that to his father who was a godly Swedish farmer. Every time a missionary came through, granddad sought to have them stay at their home for as many days as they would. My father spent many long evenings around the dining room table listening to their stories and catching their vision. You too can replicate that in one form or another. An excited, extended exposure to missions and missionaries will impact your kids for missions. The heartbeat of mom and dad is one of the most critical components to launching missions in the heart of the kids. A focused, persistent, passionate interest in missions will infect the heart of young people. If you are not excited about missions, don’t expect your kids to be committed.
PROACTIVE CHURCHES: Professional baseball teams have “farm teams.” They know that they must have a systematic approach to developing professional players. When they need more players, thy merely reach back into the resources of their farm teams. The point is, they understand the importance of grooming the next generation of players. What would happen if local churches were that proactive in grooming the next generation of missionaries? Why not have a system for helping every age group prepare for international ministries. This approach would require a very specific strategy for training everyone from children to retired folk. But imagine the incredible potential of a church that was proactive in equipping and sending missionaries. Churches are doing it. So can yours. Start planting.
Note: This article was previously posted on Harvest Fields http://ifcamedia.org/harvestfields/?p=1809 and is presented here because of it’s relevance to sending churches.