Sharing the gospel of Christ with the lost of all the world should be the interest of every Christian. After all, Jesus communicated to his disciples the need to preach the gospel throughout the world in some form at the end of each of the gospel accounts (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 21:15-17). The church has the responsibility to take the gospel to the lost in its surrounding community, but there is also the obvious responsibility to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This issue of the Carolina Messenger serves to highlight some of the matters that congregations of the Lord’s church need to think about when it comes to mission work.
Many congregations of the Lord’s church are privileged and blessed to be able to support missionaries that have dedicated their lives to preaching and teaching the gospel in foreign lands. These efforts should not be diminished in any way, but, at the same time, it should always be every congregation’s desire to improve its efforts in serving the Lord no matter what area is being discussed. Who better to ask how to improve mission work than missionaries? Men who are actively laboring in the field must certainly know best how churches in the United States can better and more effectively support missionaries and mission work. Therefore, each of the subjects covered in this issue will focus on making the church in the United States more aware of what missionaries face and how churches might better serve mission efforts.
The reader might be interested to know that the original intent of this issue was to begin each title with the phrase: “What I Wish the Church Knew About . . .” and then finish that phrase off with the titles that appear currently in this issue. For instance, the first article was intended to read: “What I Wish the Church Knew about the Blessings of Mission Work.” However, since including this phrase would have made the titles too lengthy to include in the current format of the Carolina Messenger, the titles had to be shortened. Nevertheless, each article is intended to better inform the reader of some matters that missionaries face in view of the commission that Jesus gave to go into all the world and preach the gospel. There are blessings in mission work. There are challenges in mission work. There are benefits to local congregations in the United States that are derived from mission work. There are some approaches to supporting mission work that are better than other approaches. There are some wiser ways of training those converted in the mission field than other ways. These are some of the concepts that are brought to light in this issue of the Carolina Messenger. No doubt, practical “nuggets” of information may be mined from the articles that these missionaries have contributed.
In addition to better informing Christians about matters relating to mission work, this writer also thought it beneficial to add a personal touch to the issue. Therefore, each of the missionaries that contributed an article were asked to write a few paragraphs describing his most memorable moment as a missionary. Mission work is about people just as any effort to reach the lost is about people. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus spent time with people in order to reach them. The reader will find that the events these missionaries describe as their most memorable moments are touching, encouraging, and thought-provoking.
Finally, this writer would like to thank his wife for putting the idea into his head to have an issue of the Carolina Messenger dedicated to missionaries and mission work. As far as he knows, there has not been an issue dedicated solely to highlighting foreign mission works. The challenge to put together something different as well as informative in each issue of the Carolina Messenger is real. This paper strives to always be both biblically sound and practical for those who read it. This issue is offered to the reader in hopes that it will bless his or her daily walk with Christ.