Missions - A Little Bit More

Ever since the beginning, mankind, deceived by Satan and following the sinful impulse of his own heart, has rebelled against God.  This has led to untold misery as the results of sin are manifest in this world; sickness, suffering, broken relationships and death.  Immediately, God’s father heart, grieved over the rejection and resultant state of mankind, caused Him to look for His lost children and to lead as many as would come, back to Himself as the source of all life and blessing.

God announced this plan of redemption to Abraham, carried it forward through Moses and the Prophets, and at the right time, sent His Son, as the ultimate redemptive act of God.  Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work, declared that the Kingdom of God has come, and with His blood purchased back a people for God from every tribe and language and nation.

The risen Lord empowered His church to be witnesses for Him and commanded us to be about His mission by proclaiming the gospel to our neighbors across the street and nations across the world. Therefore, the mission statement Community Vineyard Church is as follows.

“Community Vineyard exists to glorify God by declaring the gospel of the kingdom in word, deed and power.”

The gospel is the “good news” that “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”.  Declaring the gospel in word means preaching, for “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Some of our meetings will include the deliberate presentation of the gospel in spoken form.  Hundreds have come to Christ as a result and we believe God for even more.

Declaring the gospel in power means that we allow the Spirit to demonstrate His power beyond that of just preaching.  As the Apostle Paul said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”  We believe in the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit and desire to manifest the gifts of the Spirit to edify the body and advance God’s kingdom.

Declaring the gospel in deed means that, individually, we live in such a way that our lives bring glory to God and, corporately, through acts of kindness and compassion we cause people to acknowledge God and, sometimes, become open to the gospel.  Corporately we will reach out to the poor and homeless in our surrounding community through our compassion ministries and through Community Vineyard’s Kindness Evangelism Outreach we will do acts of kindness designed to touch people in our city with the love of God.  Our various home groups are encouraged to reach out to the neighborhoods where they meet and all the various ministries are encouraged to have an evangelistic component.

Some ministries will be targeting a specific demographic; hosting a teen dance at the city Natatorium, for example.   Dozens of unchurched teens have come to Christ and are being discipled in the youth ministry because of this outreach.  We desire to equip and release many kinds of local outreach ministries and will pray for and support those under our care.  Each outreach ministry must have a leader who is in turn relating to a pastor or elder at COB.

The World Missions Movement is very much on the heart of Jesus.  In fact, His promise to be with us until the end of the age was given in this context.  God will call some of us to serve in proclaiming the gospel in other nations and to people groups, but God is calling all of us to be world Christians.  At Community Vineyard we are calling all Christians participate in God’s world-wide Christian movement by praying, giving and going.  On average American Christians spend more money annually on pet food than they do in supporting world missions . . . and we still nearly outspend the rest of the world combined! This is a call to a wartime, end-time, mentality. 

We are quite likely witnessing the greatest world-wide harvest in history.  Let us respond now!  “Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” “ He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Whether it’s across the street or around the world, whatever you are going to do for God . . .  do it now!  This is a call of God to our young people to consider how you can use their gifts and talents to advance the kingdom.  This is a call to seniors on the brink of retirement to consider how you can use your last years as the most productive years of your life.  Become a World Christian.  Serve as a short-term missionary as often as your health and finances allow, give a significant portion of every day to prayer, volunteer at the local church, whatever the Spirit directs you to do.  But do it with a sense of urgency.

And may all of us together consider how we may join with Christ in His mission to reach as many as possible with the gospel that His glory may be over all the earth.  Could there be any greater cause than this? 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah.  That your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.  (Psalm 67:1  NIV)