The Missionary-Recruiting Church -- By: P. Fredrick Fogle
GJ 7:2 (Spr 66) p. 9
The Missionary-Recruiting Church
[Rev P. Fredrick Fogle has served as a missionary to France with the Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church since 1951. He is presently on furlough, pursuing postgraduate study at Grace Theological Seminary.]
The Church of Jesus Christ, since the dawn of modern missions, has been planting the banner of the cross in many lands. It can be found on the banks of the Amazon, in the metropolises of modern Japan, in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the remote villages of Africa and in the charming towns and cities of Europe.
The message permitting this planting has been proclaimed over the years by members of individual local churches. What kind of churches were these which were able to produce people, enough in love with Christ to leave home, loved ones and friends to follow the Lord’s call to a foreign country?
The first thought which comes to mind is that these missionary-recruiting churches must have conformed in many respects to the pattern of the churches of the first century. If ever there was a missionary-minded church, it was the church of New Testament times. The New Testament does not systematically outline the missionary program of the individual churches, but the general tenor of its various books, beginning with the Book of Acts, shows plainly that they followed the spirit of Peter’s statement. “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
The thriving early churches were thrilled with the prospect of preaching Christ. This was their “meat to eat.” This was their life. Even when the first persecutors attempted to discourage the Jerusalem believers in their efforts and caused them to be scattered, they “went everywhere preaching the Word” (Acts 8:1, 4). The “body of Christ” of apostolic days throbbed with a passion for leading men to the Savior.
By the end of the first century, the Gospel had been taken to every major part of the Roman Empire, from Babylon to Spain, and from Alexandria to Rome. In less than seventy years, the estimated 120 men and women of the upper room (Acts 1:15) had grown to nearly a half million.
Wherein lies the secret of such an enviable record? The Book of Acts, the condensed history of apostolic missions, tells the exciting story. And this story presents the characteristics of a missionary-recruiting church.
GJ 7:2 (Spr 66) p. 10
Acceptance of the Divine Commission
The last recorded words of the...
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