The fellowship at New Life has a long history of missions involvement and commitment. In fact quite a number of the present elders have been and still are involved in overseas ministry of various kinds.
We trust that the following will help us focus on our present missions involvement and what our personal role could be, as well as on the fact that ‘reaching out to the nations’ is at the heart of God’s redemptive love for the world.
1. God’s heart is for the nations
When God called Abraham to follow him in a lifelong walk of faith, he promised not only to bless him personally, but also to bless all the peoples of the earth through him and his offspring (Gen. 12: 2,3,7).
That descendant of Abraham was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Gal. 3:16) and the blessing for the nations God spoke of was justification by faith (Gal. 3: 6-9). Just as Abraham believed God and was saved, so all who put their faith in Christ will be saved too. This does not just apply to Abraham’s natural descendants, but to all who call on the names of Jesus, no matter what nation they come from (Rom. 10:11-13).
It was this revelation of God’s love for the whole world (John 3:16) that inspired the first disciples to go out to the nations preaching the good news of Jesus, and which has motivated men and women to do the same ever since (2 Cor. 5:14,15).
So, in the last book of the Bible, the Revelation, we have the fulfillment of God’s heart’s desire: a redeemed people drawn by his grace from every nation, tribe, people and language (Rev. 5:9,10; 7:9,10). Together they (and we!) worship before the throne of God.
2. Our vision is for the nations
In the light of this we consider it a great privilege that over 55 different nations are represented at New Life. Sometimes it really does seem like a foretaste of heaven but having so many folk from so many people groups reminds us of our responsibility to reach out to the nations with God’s redeeming love in Christ Jesus.
Our commitment to missions includes:
a) Local outreach – To our own multi-ethnic local community in Croydon
b) Providing resources – Meeting material and ministry needs overseas
c) Supporting those ministering abroad – See ‘New Life Focus’ for more details
d) Helping those preparing to go
e) Promoting the vision for missions in New Life
f) Training and equipping foreign nations – Through our School of Ministries
3. Today’s missions
Over the years the face of missions has altered greatly. Changing socio-economic, cultural and political realities in various countries require us to respond with a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. The means may vary, but the aim remains the same: to bring the good news of God’s love in Jesus to a needy world.
Some of the ways we can reach the nations include:
a) Traditional cross-cultural missionary work – Evangelism and church planting
b) Vocational missionary work – Friendship evangelism via the use of skills, e.g. teaching and nursing. Some countries are only accessible to people with relevant professional skills, qualifications and experience.
c) Short term supporting ministry – e.g. youth teams, fixed-term help
d) Projects – Often involving medical, humanitarian, educational and development aid.
e) Specialised fields – e.g. Bible translation, literature distribution, radio, T.V.
In all these various areas of commitment our desire is to work harmoniously together with local Christian and existing national churches.
We see our role as serving and supporting the wider body of Christ, especially in those areas of ministry with which God has blessed us in Croydon.
4. What should I do if I feel called to serve the Lord abroad?
When people from New Life want to go overseas to serve the Lord, especially if they want the fellowship’s blessing and active support, there are a few things we will look for (Acts 13:1-3).
a) A clear call of God
b) Personal integrity and a good reputation
Fruit of the Spirit, reliability and faithfulness in small things, ability to cope graciously with difficult situations
c) Ability to work together with others – Team, cooperation, openness, accountability
d) Commitment to New Life’s ministry values and practice – Reaching, caring and equipping
e) Proven ministry – Evidence of consistent, committed service in the fellowship
• grounding in the scriptures
• using the gifts of the Holy Spirit
• experience in some area of ministry
If you are not serving the Lord ‘at home’, you are unlikely to do it anywhere else
f) Evidence of preparation – Language skills, finances, related contacts at home and abroad
If God has spoken to you, you can afford to allow him to work things out and others will recognize your calling to.
Remember also, that God took years preparing the apostle Paul before releasing him into the ministry he had called him to at his conversion.
While you are waiting for the Lord to work things out, take every opportunity to serve the Lord in the fellowship. Why not take a prayerful look at the ‘Getting involved in Serving’ leaflet, see where you feel you could give of your best and get in touch with the contact person mentioned?
5. What next?
• come and share your vision with the leaders, they will pray with you and for you
• pray and ask the Lord to open doors
• be patient
• do anything rash
• present the fellowship with a ‘done deal’
• push ‘in the flesh’. If God doesn’t open the doors it’s better to leave them closed!
6. A prayer for healing
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me and that you want to heal me from this sickness. I ask you to forgive me those things which could be a hindrance to receiving healing. Thank you for your grace and kindness towards me.
I believe, Lord Jesus, that you died on the cross for my sins and my sicknesses. I command any spirit of infirmity linked with this sickness to leave me and I ask you, Lord Jesus, to stretch out your hand, touch me by your Spirit and heal me. By faith I now receive your gift to me of healing.
Thank you Lord. Amen.
If you have any queries about our missions involvement or how you can help, talk to any of our missions committee.
So, may the Lord help us fulfil the calling he has given us: to go out into all the world, preaching the gospel and discipling the nations!