Send 1% of Your Church Members

By Mike Pettengill, Jun 20, 2016

What would happen if every church in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) sent 1 percent of its membership to cross-cultural missions? What would happen if pastors and church leaders taught more on the biblical mandates for missions and told their congregation they wanted 1 percent of them to go onto the mission field?

But let’s back up a bit. Why does the PCA need this challenge?

The body of Christ must continue to reevaluate itself and adjust its actions as needed. When the church has fallen out of accord with Scripture and the will of Christ it must change course so as to better bring glory to God.

The purpose of man is to glorify God (Ps. 86, Is. 60:21 Rom. 11:36, 1 Cor. 6:20, 10:31, Rev. 4:11). The purpose of the church is to gather, educate, and send Christ’s disciples out into the world to bring more of God’s elect into a saving relationship with Jesus (1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11-13, Matt. 28:18-20, Is. 59:21). Based on these biblical definitions, and some reflective analyses, it may be time for a new reformation within the Protestant Church.

The church is to both promote the gospel to its members and prepare them to proclaim it (1 Pet. 3:15). The area in which Bible-teaching churches can find room for improvement is the part of their directive which mandates them in the “proclaiming the gospel” and “sending out” their members. Reformed and covenantal churches need more active missionaries and evangelists. Presbyterian pastor and author Oswald Smith said, “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”

The Church
The church exists to educate and train God’s disciples in the way of the gospel and then to send them out into the world. This is not a debatable point. Somewhere in our recent history evangelicals turned the church into an entity whose purpose is to help Christians grow in Christ and have potlucks. The true purpose of the church is to train Christians to go into the world and to reclaim and disciple God’s elect. 

Certainly, the heart of the Church is to build itself up in the faith (Eph. 4:13-16), through teaching the gospel (2 Tim 2:2), in fellowship (Acts 2:47), by maintaining ordinances (Luke 22:19), but then the Church is mandated to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world (Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, 20, Luke 9:2, 6, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Rom. 10:14-15). That final part is not optional and it is not for the super-Christian, it is for the obedient Christian.

There are not enough laborers currently tending to the harvest. If your church isn’t spreading the gospel to the lost across the street and around the world, your church doesn’t understand the gospel. Our purpose in the church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ and teach them to make disciples. The church is in greater danger by being safe than it is in taking risks to evangelize the lost. Only after the evangelical church fulfills its missionary obligation has it justified its existence. F.B. Meyer said, “The church which is not a missionary church will be a missing church when Jesus comes.”

The Workers
In many of our churches there is too much introspection and playing at church and not enough sharing of the gospel. Scripture tells us the end comes only after disciples go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel (Matt. 24:14, Mark 13:10). Scripture also tells us there are not enough laborers (Matt 9:37-38). Statistics bear this out. There are currently more than 2,500 people groups totaling nearly 200,000,000 people who have neither Scripture, the Jesus film, nor Christian recordings in their primary language. Ninety-one percent of all Christian outreach and evangelism does not target non-Christians, but targets other Christians. Despite Christ's command to evangelize, 67 percent of all humans from AD 30 to today have never heard the name of Jesus Christ.

The church is a place to educate, instruct, and prepare its members to impact the world and share God’s love, mercy, and grace. The lost seldom stumble into our churches on their own. Christians are mandated to enter the world and visit the lost where they live. Charles Spurgeon said, “It is the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world.”

So back to the 1 percent challenge. The PCA currently has about 287,746 members. If every single one of the nearly 1,900 churches in the PCA sent just 1 percent of their membership to full-time missions, 2,877 new missionaries would be disciple-making globally.

The evangelical Church is spreading rapidly in Africa and Latin America. God is doing amazing things in the Middle East and Asia. Europe and North America are ready for a new reformation. The next step that is needed is of flood of theologically sound missionaries to crash the shores of the globe and spread God’s mercy, grace, and justice to the burgeoning and yet unformed Christian churches. Pastors and church leaders, continue to train your people well and start sending your best and brightest out into the world to reap God’s harvest.

Mike Pettengill has served with MTW in Honduras and Equatorial Guinea. He is now the director of MTW’s West Coast office.


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