By Scott Logsdon
Your church must be attentive to those God has placed around you. It likely includes people from different cultures, backgrounds, and languages, right in your very community! Often, when a team travels on a short-term mission trip, they spend time learning about the country, language, and culture to meet the needs of those they will serve on that trip. Why not do the same for those who live in your own community?
To create a culture of mission in your church, you and your church members must first be aware of people from different nations who are living in your community. Learn about these different cultures, and take the initiative to befriend, serve, pray for, and love them as a church body.
For example, many cultures place a high value on hospitality. It would be rare for an American moving to a Muslim country to not be invited to dinner with their neighbors. However, when international residents move to America, they often go years without receiving an invitation to visit the home of their neighbors, even though they would love to do so! The result is that these visitors feel a strong sense of neglect and loneliness. Teach your church to be greatly hospitable to the international visitors in your community.
You can also turn the walls of your church into message boards on their behalf. This could include specific prayer requests or information about the common beliefs of these cultures. These boards serve as a reminder to your church members that they should be praying for the nations in your community.
Lead your church to become engaged in an ongoing way right where they are. Organizing once or twice a year short-term trips is good, but leading your people to engage the nations in your community provides an ongoing opportunity to impact the Kingdom of God right where you are. Teach, equip, and mobilize them to serve the nations in your community.
Scott Logsdon, PhD, and his family served among Muslims and led twenty-six church-planting teams in five countries. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he serves as the associate vice president of training for the International Mission Board.