Jump Start # 2320
Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
This week I received an email with several photos attached to it. There were two black men in the pictures. One I did not know. The other, I have had a few email exchanges with. The pictures came from Uganda, Africa. The man I did not know was from Kenya. In the photo they are holding up copies of our Jump Start books. Through a contact here in America I was asked to send some material to the Ugandan preacher. He since requested a bunch more so that he could share them with other preachers. This is how the Kenyan preacher got some of the material. I looked at those photos for a long time. There on the front of those class books and Jump Start books was my name. Who would have thought. It made me think of my simple grandfather. He was a poor but decent Christian who lived and died in the same county that he was born in. And here, a couple of generations later, some Africans are using material that I wrote. That is amazing to me.
Our verse today reminds us of the global vision that we need to have. It was directed towards the apostles specifically, but the principles trickle down to each of us. There was a time, not too long ago, especially in my grandfather’s time, when “the world” was basically the community surrounding the church building. That was the extent of most evangelism. Occasionally, a congregation would send some money to a preacher who was in other places and once in a long while, they would send money to a preacher overseas. Other than sending out a monthly check, the “going into all the world,” didn’t happen much. Later, some preachers started traveling to different places overseas to preach. The world started getting smaller. And today, because of technology, the world has fallen into our grasps.
The Lord said in the Gospel of Luke, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ I wonder about that, not just individually, but congregationally. Will the Lord, does the Lord, expect more of us in this generation than He did of those in my grandfather’s generation? With a few strokes of a keyboard, I can send articles, sermons, class info world wide. Without ever leaving my house, I can go into all the world.
Now, with this comes some thoughts we need to consider:
First, we preachers need to think globally. It’s more than going overseas, and that’s powerful, but in providing the tools, the materials and the knowledge in the hands of brethren that can help them in their work. So, when we write Bible class material, write it with a global impact in mind. Make your material top notch. Clean up the mistakes and typos. Print in color if you can. Bind up the lessons into a booklet. Many hours went into researching and writing those classes. Put an attractive cover on those lessons and send them to young preachers and your contacts overseas.
Second, through websites, Facebook, and other avenues of social media, put quality material that is easy to find. Build search engines into the websites so people looking for a specific topic can find it. Don’t be stingy with your material and your work. Don’t sell everything that you put out. Make it possible for others to learn, grow and be equipped.
Third, as you do this, there comes a large shift in your work. Suddenly, you’ll find emails, texts, phone calls, and requests that start coming in from all over the world. You realize that most of these people will never attend where you preach. However, the kingdom is larger than just where you preach. If you are helping a soul, isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing? Congregations need to appreciate, be kept up to date and understand the global impact a church can have. This isn’t about making a name. This isn’t about promoting yourself. This is about helping the kingdom grow. This is about helping people learn the Bible. We have so many tools over here that folks in most of the world do not. Copy machines, computers, study materials, books—these are things at our finger tips. Most preachers overseas have only one Bible and that’s it. We have shelves lined with books. We have all kinds of tools. Help others with what you have. Many are now having live Bible studies over their computers with people overseas. It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach and help people grow in the Lord.
Fourth, going into all the world always takes money. It did back then for the apostles and it does for us today. For the apostles, going into the world meant either traveling in person, or writing a letter. Both took months and months to reach the desired destination. Today, emails can be sent rapidly within an hour world wide. Printing material takes money. Having quality material on a website takes money. Sending things overseas takes money. A congregation can get involved by first providing the money necessary to do these things. But in other ways, people can get involved by helping box and mail material. Others can keep the website up to date and fresh.
Fifth, in becoming a global church, we must never forget nor neglect the neighborhood around us. Nothing beats the personal, face to face Bible study. We must continue to invite family and friends to worship. We must keep setting the right example before others. We must pray that the Lord will wear us out in service to the kingdom.
It bothers me that so many congregations today do not want to use social media. No website. No Facebook. No twitter. And, often it’s older leaders that do not understand how the world operates today. Sometimes there is no one within the congregation with the knowledge of what to do. In those situations, ask around and find someone in another congregation that would be willing to help you get things going. The message of Christ never changes, but how we get that message out certainly has. In the Lord’s parable of the sower, walking through a field with a bag of seed slung over your neck is how it was done in Jesus’ day. Broadcasting—is that that was called. The sower would reach into that bag of seed and fling it out as far as he could. That method still works. It’s slow and one is limited, but it still works. Most farmers today, have massive tractors with dual wheels all around, and a planter that will plant twenty or more rows at a time. What it took a farmer all day in Jesus’ time, takes today’s farmer a couple of hours. We need to think about that. We must continue to sow the seed. That’s beyond debate and discussion. The question remains, are we going to walk through a field with a seed sack or are we going to use a multi-row planter?
Jump Starts in Uganda. When we started this little Jump Start journey a few years ago, I would have never dreamed that someone in Africa would be benefiting from what we were doing.