God is drawing worshippers to himself from every tribe and language and people and nation. As his disciples, we are commissioned to go and make disciples of all nations. Sometimes that means sending people to distant lands to people groups who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Other times it’s partnering with national believers who already know the language and culture. As we go, send, and partner we seek to see new churches started, which will reproduce themselves and form other new churches. Since local leadership is essential for the health and growth of new churches, we also are committed to developing church leaders.
Today, in large portions of the world, many still have never heard the name of Jesus, or perhaps there is a gospel witness but the indigenous church is still a tiny minority. In light of these realities we seek to put a priority on our involvement among people groups that are still largely unreached.
Christ’s Great Commission is global, and most of the people who have never heard the life-changing message of Jesus are somewhere other than America. Yet, God has also brought the nations to America. San Gabriel Community Church dwells in a globally strategic place, therefore we desire to be a church that is globally-minded, and locally engaged. Not everyone is called to go and serve the Lord among another language and culture in another part of the world. But we all have a story to tell and we have people around us every day who need to hear this story. As a local church body, we are often engaged in many of the implications of the gospel—loving our neighbor as ourselves in acts of service, mercy and good deeds—yet we are steadfastly committed to the message of the Gospel.
What about Short-Term Missions?
A Short-Term Mission (STM) can be an exciting and effective opportunity for believers to get involved in the Great Commission outside of their own language and culture. STMs are a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of the Church, but now through the ease of international travel, and the resources available to the Church in America, personal engagement in global missions has become available to thousands every year.
However, many times there is a lot of smoke and very little fire involved in short-term missions. Churches often measure the success of their programs by the numbers of people they board on airplanes for exotic destinations. Millions of dollars are raised and spent. Local church leaders and workers are distracted from their normal tasks to oblige their agency or their home church.
Therefore, we are very intentional in our short-term missions program. Our goal is not simply to give people a cross-cultural experience, or to send as many people overseas as we can as if that is somehow a true measure of effectiveness. Our primary goal in short-term missions is to serve the on-going goals of our missionary partners and the SGCC Global Outreach Strategy.
For more information about Outreach Ministries, contact Dave Halverson, Associate Pastor of Outreach Ministries. Dhalverson@sangabrielcommunity.org.