Obedience to the call of missions is the most important task of the church. By keeping the last Great Commandment of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, the heart or centre of our ministries and the modus operandi(mode of operation), the church would be obeying the Lord of harvest. These commands could be found in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21 and Acts 1:8.The most comprehensive of them all is Matthew 28:18-20.A.J.Brown stated in the fourth edition of The Missionary Enterprise that: “The command of Christ is not a requestor a suggestion. It leaves nothing to our choice. It is an order, comprehensive and unequivocal a clear, peremptory, categorical imperative ‘GO!’

Generally speaking, some believers are not mission-minded because they are not properly informed about Jesus’ demand of them as His followers. The church must rise and join God in revealing Jesus Christ to the world to hasten His second coming and to have real, true and uninterrupted peace on earth. If they know Jesus, the religious crisis will stop, and all vices such as kidnapping, armed robbery, prostitution, nepotism, tribalism etc. will pass away. The Lord is counting on you, your family and your church to join His mission team. May God depend on you. Amen.

A missionary experience

The Great Commission was given to the church more than two thousand years ago. It is a regrettable fact that up till today, only about one out of every seven people in the world is fully aware of this message. About 2 out of every 7 people in the world have a little chance of hearing the message. It is my prayer that through this month’s lessons, the Lord will revive His church on the importance of the Great Commission.

A Living Testimony: About ten years ago, in the area where my wife and I served as missionaries in the Northeastern region of Nigeria, a young Fulani girl was involved in a fatal automobile accident with eight of her siblings. Three of them died on the spot while the others were seriously injured. This young girl was the daughter of one of our friends. The mother became a Christian shortly after returning from Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina) and was being disciple by my wife at that time. Because she was a nurse, she decided to accompany us to Fulani camps for medical outreach programmes. This young girl was not happy with the decision of her mother (to accept Christ and join us in ministering to the Fulani people through medical outreach programmes). She was about ten years old then, and a zealous Muslim.

The young girl did not die on the spot but was seriously injured. They were all rushed to the nearby Government Hospital for treatment. While on the hospital bed, the young girl started complaining of serious pains all over her body. Her elder sister (the firstborn of their mother) encouraged her to be reciting the Islamic Shahadah, the Islamic pillars of faith: La illaha ill allah, Mohammadu Rasul Allah (There is no god but God and Prophet Mohammed is His messenger). She assured her that by reciting the Shahadah, her pains would go. This did not help her in any way as the pains grew worse. After some time, she called on her paint to come close to her. She told her aunt that some people were preventing her from entering a beautiful house and she did not know what to tell them so that they would allow her in.

Jesus Is the Way: The aunt was a Christian. She believed very strongly in the words of Jesus Christ as found in John 14:6 (I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me NIV). She believed her niece was about to pass on but the angels of God were preventing her from entering the beautiful house which Jesus Christ had prepared for us all because the young girl had not confessed with her mouth nor believed in her heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and the only Way to the Father(Ref. Romans 10:9-10).

The aunt went on to encourage her to just keep saying: “Jesus, help me, Jesus save me! ”This girl obeyed her aunt despite a very strong opposition by her sister (who was also a zealous Muslim). As she kept on saying,“ Jesus, help me, Jesus, save me, “her countenance gradually changed from that of sorrow and pain to that of joy. She then changed from saying ‘Jesus, help me’, ‘Jesus, save me ‘to ‘Na gode, NVa gode’ (Thank you, Thank you.) She kept saying this, and with joy and radiance in her eyes, she passed on.

When this hitherto zealous ten-year-old Muslim girl called on the name of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and asked for His salvation(even on her sick bed), the doors of the beautiful house were opened for her. Indeed, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Share the Great News: Fellow believers, this is the message that Jesus Christ has given us through the Great Commission to share with the whole world. Billions are yet to know Him. Many of them are truly zealous for God, but the Scripture makes us know that if they do not come to Him through Jesus Christ (THE ONLY WAY, ref. John 14:6), they cannot see God.

Supporting the missionaries

Prayers to Support Missionaries: Mission work involves great spiritual warfare.(Ephesians 6: 10; 20). When the Amalekites attacked the Israelites in Exodus 17:8-13, only Joshua, out of the four leaders mentioned in vs. 10 went to war with some of the Israelites (vs. 9). Moses, Aaron and Hur stayed in the camp. Moses stood on top of the mountain with the staff of God in his hands. Aaron and Hur helped him by holding his hands up so that the staff of God would remain raised until the battle was won by Israel. Missions is a teamwork as all of us need to cooperate to ensure that the staff of God remains raised through regular intercessory prayers till victory is ours.

The following are prayer items for missions:

  • Security/Protection (for the missionary, his family and those working with him).
  • Good health (for the missionary, his family and those working along with him).
  • Open doors for ministry.
  • Stand against the spirit of frustration or confusion.
  • Right ministry strategy/strategies.
  • Faithful and committed workers and partners.
  • God’s grace concerning persecution (The missionary and his/her target).

Giving to Support Missionaries: The church must support missionaries financially and materially. When this is properly done, missionaries will be able to succeed more concerning the work of the Lord on the field. Special projects in the field and education of the children of missionaries are major areas in which the missionaries have difficulties. This is a major challenge for our missionaries, especially for those serving outside Nigeria as education is very expensive outside Nigeria and there is no way any of our missionaries would be able to pay for the education of any of their children in any good school outside the country with their meagre salaries. The church and members who are believers can prayerfully decide to assist our missionaries concerning their children’s education. This will go a long way in helping them to remain focused on the call of God concerning their lives.

Gifts during special religious festivals such as Christmas/New Year as well as appreciation gifts could be directed toward the same. This is very important for all our missionaries, especially those targeting Unreached People Groups. The church has to remember them for regular appreciation because the people they work with will even expect gifts from them instead of giving them.

Such a gesture will also go a long way in helping our missionaries feel loved and appreciated. The church can prayerfully consider helping them concerning concrete plans for their retirement.

Going to Support Missionaries: There is a need to visit missionaries and their families on the field. It will help them to always remember that they have a Christian family that loves them back home. Besides, the church needs planned visitation to the field to see things for themselves (The missionaries cannot tell you everything). The church can as well use social media networks such as e-mail, text messages, telephone calls and so on. Individual members can write down or give their children the telephone numbers or email addresses of missionaries and their families for them to contact regularly in other to encourage them. For contemporary Muslim evangelism, professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers, pharmacists, engineers, agriculturists, lawyers, etc. are needed. Youths are needed. God needs youths who can go anywhere alongside some senior citizens who can no longer do much running around.

Empowering the missionaries

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in Acts 1:8, assured the early Christians thus: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria and to the ends of the earth. “The essence of empowerment is to equip witnesses (missionaries, evangelists, ministers and all Christians) for the loving ministry of proclamation (kerygma), service (diakonia), mentoring and discipleship as exemplified in the earthly ministry of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The primary responsibility of a missionary is to reach lost souls with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish them as effective witnesses in their community as an indigenous church. How is the church(the body of Jesus Christ: you and I) going to assist in empowering our missionaries for this God-sized assignment?

What Are the Identifiable Areas of Need?

  1. Prayer and Mobilisation: It is normal for a church to organise regular prayer support for missionaries, their families, their ministries and the target people. There is a need to mobilise members within and beyond for this.
  2. Ministry equipment: As a church, we need to empower missionaries with the Following:
  • A serviceable 4-wheel drive truck per missionary family to ensure easy mobility.
  • Video projector, generator, public address system, etc.
  • A laptop and a printer per missionary family.
  • Camcorder/Digital Camera.
  • Tape recorders for those in the Unreached People Groups ministry.
  1. Training: Training is essential for missionaries in the following areas:
  • Contemporary ministry strategies.
  • Muslim evangelism.
  • First aid treatment and preventive medicine (for the missionary to be equipped to assist his family and the targets on the field).
  • Vocational training for the missionary to be equipped to empower the targets on the field (i.e. economic empowerment alongside spiritual empowerment).
  1. Financial support for projects
  • Specific projects (building projects, drilling of boreholes etc.)
  • Literature, tracts and radio ministry.
  • Student, Children and the ‘Catch them Young project’.
  • Friendship and relationship evangelism with social ministry approach/involvement.
  1. Partnership with other Great Commission Christians
  2. De-emphasising all rules and traditions concerning enlistment of missionaries as they affect specialised yet to attend our Seminary/Pastors’ Schools for Theological education ministers who are

How Are we Going to Partner with God in Addressing these Identifiable Areas of Need?

  1. Everyone must be involved in praying regularly for our missionaries. Without fervent prayer on behalf of the missionaries, they are only half-armed for the battle.
  2. Every Nigerian Baptist (young and old, including children) can assist financially by sending at least ten Naira (N10) per month to the Global Missions Board, Ibadan through a designated leader per fellowship. If we can all do this, our present population of 3 to 6 million Nigerian Baptists could be used by God to raise between(N10x3million=N30million) and (N10x6 million=N60 million) every month for our collective ministry work.
  3. The church is to work together with other churches and ministry agencies to ensure that the work of the Master is done within the shortest possible time. God desires our unity and partnership with fellow believers.
  4. The contemporary approach to Muslim and Unreached People Groups Ministry is to make use of professionals as missionaries on the field in such areas where the traditional evangelistic method is unacceptable or difficult. Baptist Churches must prayerfully consider this by ensuring that our young folks who are professionals are encouraged to make use of their professional training as full-time missionaries on the field. We must also ensure that they are truly accommodated and integrated when they do so.

God has opened our eyes to see how we can partner with Him in empowering our missionaries. I want to join my voice with the voice of Daniel March of blessed memory in the last phrase of our opening song by saying:“  Answer quickly when He calleth, Here am I, send me, send me.” Amen.