Feature

Opportunity of a Lifetime

Going abroad is great, but international missions abound in the U.S.

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Members of a local Alliance church were about to remodel and expand the sanctuary’s platform. American men began dismantling the existing platform, and Hispanic men completed that phase of the project. A Ukrainian man, assisted by Brazilian men, installed the new wiring for the sound system. Along the way, clean up was done by American, Hispanic, Brazilian and Ukrainian men working side by side. American and Brazilian men completed the final step, the rebuilding of the platform. The finished product benefited the entire church family and continues to serve as a reminder of God’s blessing.

This “international incident” will become the norm in Alliance churches as more and more people from other cultures make their home in the United States.

A New Situation

The dollar continues to shrink overseas, while at the same time, the cost of living continues to increase. Doors once open to traditional missionaries are closing at an alarming rate in many countries. Civil unrest abounds in every corner of the world. If the desires of the C&MA’s founder, Dr. A. B. Simpson, and the call of God upon The Alliance to reach people groups with the gospel are to be realized today, how can these obstacles be overcome? How can we continue to reach the lost people of the world with the saving gospel, train people to share the live-changing gospel, equip people to teach the deeper-life gospel and identify and prepare people to go and share the borderless Gospel? God in His Sovereignty and Wisdom has shown us a part of the answer: intercultural missions!

I have heard several pastors say that they desired to see every member of their church visit a mission field. Like those pastors, I often felt that the true heart of missions is found outside of the United States. God has now showed me that missions may be found here at home through what I call “intercultural missions.” How does it apply to The Christian and Missionary Alliance and, more specifically, to the local church?

Approximately one third, or nearly 800, of our U.S. churches are non-Anglo. God has given The Alliance an unprecedented opportunity for missionary work: He has literally brought the world to us! Our neighborhoods, schools, markets, workplaces and churches are filled with immigrant people groups. The question presented to us as an Alliance family is both thought provoking and challenging: what will we do now that the world is no longer “over there” but rather now it is “right here.” We are standing at the start of an enormous opportunity and blessing.

Resource Exchange

Through the office of Intercultural Ministries, the U.S. C&MA is reaching out to a number of ethnic groups, including Vietnamese, Haitian, Hispanic, Filipino, Brazilian, Korean, Laotian and Chinese. But what of the countless ethnic groups in this country that have no Alliance contact? They represent one of the greatest open doors in recent Alliance history.

From the comfort of the local church, our people have the privilege of encountering and experiencing another culture. Entire congregations, from the youngest to the oldest, have the blessing of seeing, hearing and experiencing a group of people whom they once perhaps heard about only through missions conferences. Relationships once available only to international workers can now be enjoyed by members of our local congregations! While short-term missions expose people to other cultures for a week or two, the experience of intercultural missions can last a lifetime. We can only imagine the impact on the lives of Alliance people when this exposure becomes a part of church life.

We who have had many years of Bible training through Sunday school, seminars, Bible classes in college or Christian schools and countless self-studies now have the privilege, through intercultural missions, of sharing with those who have never had the opportunities to learn the basic truth of God’s Word. Through this style of home missions, our people have been given a place of prominence in the training and preparation of people called by God to reach their fellow countrymen and women with the gospel. Further, in some cases God is sending to us those who are going to be the next generation of pastors and international workers to touch the world! I believe that God is letting us be part of their preparation so that He might send them back to their native country to plant, pastor and prepare churches to send out workers to complete the Great Commission!

God’s Gift

Alliance people in the local church have been extended the “hands on” experience of working with a cultural group, thus exposing them to a part of the world never before experienced, and through their efforts they are touching the world for Jesus Christ through their students! That seems to me to be the full essence of God’s call on the Christian and Missionary Alliance!

For decades our Alliance family has supported the missionary movement given to us by our Lord. Our people have generously and sacrificially given so that we might send representatives to foreign fields. Today, God is sending church leaders and people groups to America from all parts of the world. Now those who have graciously given have a new privilege: the giving of themselves, their time, their facilities, their resources, their knowledge and their love! Millions of immigrants now grace our beloved United States. The harsh reality is that many of these are lost! Many have come to America spiritually dead with our great nation serving as nothing more than a bridge from their homeland to Hell!

Through the Alliance in America God has extended to many immigrants an opportunity to hear the life-changing gospel of Jesus. I pray that every local Alliance church prayerfully consider reaching out to an ethnic group—and touch the world without leaving home! Praise God that our Alliance family in America can now experience the joy and blessings of our international workers. Through intercultural missions, we can enjoy the ultimate blessings—giving and doing!

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