News Articles

Mission-minded churches get beyond their property lines, strategist

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Mark Clifton, church-planting strategist for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, outlined qualities of the first-century Jerusalem church true in mission-minded churches today during an address at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“A mission-minded church realizes the church is bigger than the local congregation,” said Clifton, who will be giving direction to the Heartland Church Planting Center, a cooperative effort between KNCSB and the Kansas City, Mo., seminary.
Many pastors say their churches are mission-minded, but in reality they do little beyond their own property lines, Clifton said.
Turning to Acts 11:22-30, he observed that the church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to see what God was doing in Antioch. “Now, the work in Jerusalem wasn’t completed, not every person had been witnessed to in Jerusalem, the gospel had not been proclaimed to every soul,” Clifton explained March 24. “Yet God was working elsewhere, and that church had a responsibility to the ‘elsewhere places.'”
Clifton, who served with the former Home Mission Board as a regional church starter strategist and director of church starting projects, noted Barnabas’ joy at what he found in Antioch.
“Mission-minded churches rejoice when good is happening elsewhere,” Clifton said, commenting on how easy it is for churches to grumble about the church down the road that is growing and perhaps accuse them of stealing members or being deceitful. If God is working at some other place, rejoice, he urged; with that mentality, Christians will be rejoicing all the time because God is always at work somewhere.”
Mission-minded churches also reassure other churches to continue in the Lord, Clifton said
“Barnabas encouraged them with purpose of heart to continue with the Lord,” he said. Too often when God begins to bless a church, there is a tendency by men to believe they must take it to another level. “They watch every video, read every program, attend every conference and travel to other cities to see what others are doing and feel they must copy them.
“Don’t look to the secular world to learn how to grow a church,” Clifton admonished. “They can tell you how to draw crowds, how to build budgets, how to look good, how to manage things, but the ways of God are different.”
Mission-minded churches also resource other churches, Clifton said. “The Jerusalem church sent its very best. Don’t think Jerusalem didn’t need Barnabas. A mission-minded church brings resources to bear to the work of missions. It gets involved long-term.”
In addition, mission-minded churches mentor leaders, Clifton said. “When God surfaces people in our churches who have potential, it is our responsibility to see that they succeed,” Clifton said, pointing out Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch and trained him in ministry, allowing Saul to grow and develop without being jealous of Saul’s success.
Finally, Clifton noted when the Jerusalem church experienced famine, it received help from Antioch. “God meets the needs of our famines when we are faithful,” Clifton said. “Mission-minded churches enable themselves to experience great blessings.”

    About the Author

  • John Gaskin