Q: What are Local Missions?
A: Local Missions are service opportunities in your own backyard. A passion for missions doesn’t have to take you overseas; through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can serve as a witness for Jesus Christ in your hometown and surrounding areas. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth.” The Great Commission is all encompassing, sending some to foreign missions, but challenging many of us to serve as missionaries right here at home – locally.
Q: Am I supposed to start out literally in Jerusalem, and then Judea and Samaria?
A: If you live in Jerusalem, yes! However, for us, it simply means to be a witness for Christ wherever we live. Eventually, through mutual efforts, all will have the chance to hear the Gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ as it spreads through all the earth.
Q: What is the difference in being a local missionary and a foreign missionary?
A: Both local and foreign missionaries are witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Both serve Christ through serving the poor, whether the poverty is financial or spiritual. We are all ambassadors of Christ as we share His love, whether it’s through witnessing to the lost, church planting, feeding the hungry or encouraging the oppressed.
Q: What are some of the advantages of involvement in Local Missions?
A: As in Biblical times, there are no planes to catch, no travel arrangements, and usually no new customs or languages to learn. In some cities, like Atlanta, people from every nation and culture live practically next door.
Q: Are career missionaries more spiritual than those who serve locally? After all, they have devoted their entire lives to serving the Lord.
A: If you are intentional about serving the Lord locally, God will use you through the power of the Holy Spirit – right where you are. Intentionality is the key.
Q: What does it mean to be intentional?
A: Fully commit to serving the Lord in your local community at a specific time or in specific ways. Even if it’s only for a few hours each month, God can use you in big ways.
Q: I don’t have a lot of time to serve like career missionaries do. How do I fit it in?
A: You can serve once a month, consistently and intentionally. Pray and take a step of faith, whether it’s committing to once a month, twice a month or once a week. It may seem a small thing to you, but God sees you are intentionally serving Him. Jesus said, “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42 ). Can you carve out time to give someone a drink of water or to hand out a Gospel tract? Do what you can, where you can, when you can, the best you can. Missions, whether local or foreign, are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the power of the Holy Spirit. Through this process, ordinary people mature from selfishness to selflessness.
Q: How do I get involved in Local Missions?
A: Your local church, where you have sustained relationships, is the best place to get involved. At First Baptist Church Atlanta, for instance, we already have established Local Missions.