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A REFLECTION ABOUT MISSIONS.

Is there still a place for the Traditional Missionary?  By Samuel Opolot

In February last year (2017) we were invited to one of the Universities in Uganda to join in the “Ministry and Missions Week” organised by the chapel of that Campus. The “Ministry and Missions Week” is an opportunity not only to reach out to the Campus and surrounding community  with the gospel of our Lord Jesus but also a time reflect on the command of our Lord Jesus to be “…Witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria indeed to the ends of the earth…” Acts 1:8. It is a time to wrestle with the implications of that command to the Church of contemporary Uganda. And so there were number of talks in the evenings and some days during the lunch break. My most favorite time that week was the face to face interactions with some of the students who visited our desk to inquire about our work. It was so refreshing to share with students about our ministry and the great need for some of them to sign up to serve as missionaries in some of the more needy places. Of course the responses varied from great enthusiasm to the passing “yah, ok good work you guys are doing.” I will not however forget this one conversation I had with this one final year female student, very active and very helpful to us as we settled and set up for the exhibitions. She was one of those you sure wanted to consider talking to about serving in missions. However on hearing that Global Link Afrika was involved in mobilising and sending missionaries, and on being challenged to consider going to some rural place to serve through the GLA Mission Internship Program, her response was clear and unequivocal, “Can’t I be Missionary as I serve though my profession where I am working?”  Indeed she went on to ask, “…aren’t we really missionaries wherever we are? Must I really leave my home, my people and to go to another place somewhere to be a missionary, really? ” and you needed to see the seriousness with which she asked these questions to appreciate the full gravity of her convictions! I must admit her challenge took me a little by surprise, for I never really saw it coming.

Yet I completely understood and even actually appreciated where she was coming from. Because I believe that that line of thought is absolutely noble and truly central to Christian witness in the market place. We ought to be ambassadors of the gospel everywhere and every time. Clearly the cooperate executive, the teacher, the nurse, the doctor name it, who sings and worships passionately in Church on Sunday, should indeed carry along with him/her his values and convictions to his/her office on Monday and bear witness to the transforming Gospel of Jesus in that way. And so yes I agree in that sense we are all “missionaries” wherever we are!

 

Yet that understanding of missionary raises some very fundamental questions. Of course the obvious one is who then indeed is a missionary? The response to that question is dependent on your view and convictions on what Mission really is. I have no intention at all to deal exhaustively with these questions here – I am more interested in the question raised by the implications of this “rather new” understanding of missionary. This understanding of missionary forces us to ask the question, is there still a place for the traditional missionary? The one who leaves his home, his people and moves to live and serve among a different people – is there still room for that kind of understanding of this term missionary?

 

For us to fully appreciate these questions, we must wrestle with the implications of Jesus words and commands. Let consider what he says in  Acts 1:8 “… you shall be my witness …to the ends of the earth…” His witnesses must consider being so to the ends of the earth. That is not far from saying “…make disciples of all nations…” Mathew 28:19 or even saying “… And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.” Mark 13:10 These statements of Jesus have serious implications to our understanding of mission work and therefore on our convictions on the missionary in our contemporary Church. It is clear that the Lord’s intention and desire is for the message of the gospel to go to every nation, for clarity purposes here I will add that the real meaning of the term nation here is not the geographical political nation or country as we know the term today but rather it is a reference to a tribal or ethnic group. In other words what this means is that the message of the gospel should be preached to every tribe on the face of the earth! In light of this the big question before us therefore is, can we say that every tribe on earth has heard the gospel? Can we say that there is a vibrant church in every tribe and ethnic group and that therefore in every tribe there are enough Christians who can be “missionaries wherever they are in that tribe”? I wish the answer to this question was yes, we could very easily discard the “old fashioned” understanding of the term missionary! The reality unfortunately is that there are still tribes without witness – who need someone to go and serve among those people. Some people who need to leave their home, their people and go live among another people so as to bring the message of the gospel among those tribes. Recent statistics suggest that we have nearly 650 people groups that are completely un-evangelised and unengaged by a missionary. As of 2015 the estimated number of people that are considered un-evangelised and indeed living among unreached unengaged people groups was 2.1 billion. If we are to take Jesus words seriously, we sure cannot run away from the old fashioned understanding of missionary. The “new understanding” of missionary – even though it challenges us to responsible Christian witness at all times – a good thing in itself,  could very easily become a nice and convenient excuse that will deter us from committing to respond to the need for gospel workers in those places that in dire need for the gospel workers. We can settle to be missionary where we are really comfortable in thus not challenged and not feel any sense of responsibility towards those tribes and people groups where there is hardly any witness.

 

With all this in mind, when any one rightly asks me the question, “is there a place for the traditional missionary?” My un-equivocal response is a resounding yes! Is there a need for the traditional missionary – yes unequivocally I say a resounding yes! There is a need for missionaries that will intentionally and deliberately go across ethnic, linguistic and geographical boundaries to evangelise and gather communities of disciples among the nations and the tribes. There is need for this message to resound again and again on our pulpits, there is need for our churches and Christians to support these missionaries! For this gospel must be preached to every tongue and tribe!

IGNITE 2015 Missions Convention

ATTENTION !!!!

We invite all contributions and fundraising through our Website for the IGNITE 2015 Missions Convention.

Please be a blessing to this Cause. Thank you!

GLOBAL LINK AFRIKA

Presents

IGNITE 2015 Missions Convention

As we live in a consistently liberalized and progressive society, we cannot evade questions about self sacrifice and life commitment towards Christian mission. There is pressure to mass conformity and worldly standards of doing things. With increased popularity of views, the interpretation of God’s Word has not been spared either.

Who among us will stand out as faithful missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ both in terms of unwavering commitment to Him and in the way we handle His Word and apply it. We represent a different Kingdom, one that is constantly in conflict with the kingdom of the world.

Our mission is to pray, preach and witness in a holistic way so that the Kingdom of God can come and that His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

IGNITE 2015 Missions Convention is born out of a desire to see the indigenous church do more on the mission front. It is our goal to see the church realize its full missions potential. This Convention seeks to challenge all of us indigenous Christians to step out of our comfort zones and find our place in global missions.

God through Christ has reconciled all things to Himself(Colossians 1:20). This is the finished work of God! yet we are fully reminded “…He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We therefore are Christ ambassadors as though God were making an appeal through us.”2 Corinthians 5: 19 – 20.

What does it mean for us to respond to the words of God, ‘Whom shall I send’ (Isaiah 6:8).God is still in the business of sending.

IGNITE 2015 Missions Convention seeks in various folds to inform, expose and train on missions.

Are you a church, an organizational leader, a Christian who is keen on Missions? IGNITE is the perfect opportunity for you to build networks and synergize! It is a time to light new missions fires as well as rekindle old ones! Ultimately desiring to hear the voice of the Lord saying “… whom shall I send?” and like Isaiah would we say “…Here I am send me…”.

The Convention will cost us 400,000/= to host and feed a delegate but the delegate will leave with a package of missions and leadership books.

DATES: 16-22August  2015.

VENUE: Lweza Training and Conference Centre, Kampala, Uganda.

GETTING INVOLVED!

Register now and book your place.

Give a general donation to the Convention.

Sponsor a Pastor who you know will benefit.

Sponsor a Pastor who may not afford the fee.

Donate through this Website and categorically specify in which way you would like to give.

 

 

 

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Book Reading

Reading is one of the most fertile grounds for knowledge to sprout well. The kind of literature you read really matters and GLA has always advised and stressed the point of inspirational book reading to its interns; the move has worked for the interns as they come out with strong analytical skills and situational judgement.

Abiti Anyole Hosea, one of the mission interns in the field, has read many kinds of literature but he had to share a thing, so special that he finds in HUMILITAS by John Dickson. The impact that the book causes on Hosea’ life goes without say! He is truly inspired and the skill that he uses to analyse the book is indicative of the secret behind book reading.

He gives the general over view about the book before he is taken through an interview on specific areas to find out how he has understood the book. HUMILITAS is a book written on the human basis and this is how Hosea gives the synopsis of it…

The author of Humilatas John Dickson states that, ‘The most influential and inspiring people are often marked by humility.’ He defines humility as the noble choice to forego your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.

According to the author, true humility assumes the dignity or strength of the one processing the virtue, thus humility presupposes your dignity. It is a choice that one makes and therefore willing, and no one has to impose it on the other. Humility is social and is about redirecting your powers whether physically, intellectually financially or structurally for the sake of others. And it is more about how to treat others and how I think about myself hence the ability of removing a selfish and self-centred attitude.

The author states that, it is plain that humility has been at the core of success for any people. For example Jim Collins admits that leaders who turn good companies into great ones are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.

John Dickson puts it plain that Jesus’ approach to preach to those in his time was humility with explicit statements that he made like, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls.”

The author connotes that Jesus in the scripture does not urge people to accept him because He is humble but rather He contrasts His own light approach to ethical life with the burdensome rules demanded by rival teachers of his period. Hence, the need to know that humility is worth.

Speaking of the Apostle Paul, Dickson says that Paul in his letters to the Romans and Philippians urges the readers to embrace humility. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than you.”He farther explains that Paul also says that the attitude of the Christian should be as that of Christ Jesus, who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God to be grasped, and humbled himself to the point of death even death on the Cross.

From his book I can derive that Dickson’s perspective is that humility also means treating those who hold contrary beliefs with respect and friendship. True Humanity assumes the dignity or strength of the one possessing the virtue thus humility presupposing your dignity.

Concluding his Book, the author in a nutshell, considers humility core in human relationship both with man and with God and that humility can propel you to heights you cannot imagine and is worth of.

On a bit to capture further on what Hosea has understood, acquired, liked and disliked, encouraged or discouraged by, The Link interviewed him on his personal take from the Book:

What are some of the things that you have learnt from this book?

I have leant that humanity is a choice that brings about influence wherever you are. The humble will always prosper and move to higher heights because humility generates abilities and slows down pride. Humility also results into building self esteem and security. It makes you to become more persuasive in your endeavours and more inspirational than arrogant. It also lifts those around us in all aspects of life. To become humble we need to embrace humility and reflect on the lives of the humble. Above all I draw from the writer’s view that humanity is expressed through being humble by embracing humility drawn from those that are humble, the perfect example being that of Jesus Christ.

What are some of the issues you find unclear?

I find it quit hard to bridge the gap between conviction and humanity in the tenth chapter of the Book.

Is there anywhere you do not agree with the author about?

There is no point asking devout Muslims to accept as valid the Christian idea that Jesus is divine and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world because the Quran explicitly rejects that. I believe that even staunch Muslims can be reached when correct strategies are used because they need the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What practical choices, changes and commitments are you making as a result of reading this Book?

Avoiding pride, self-centeredness, and praying to God to make me humble to be able to recognise others and offer them service. Becoming a servant to others not as a sign of showing them that I can do it but that it is worth giving genuine service. Praying that God makes me humble because I cannot do it on my own

What practical steps are you taking to achieve the above?

Praying that God can help me to be humble. Taking other important and not looking down on any one. Choosing to be humble because it’s a choice. Reading the Bible to understand more about what it says about humility.

Any other comments and recommendations?

I would like to re-read the book so that I can get to understand some things that I have not understood. I would also recommend some people to read it because it is a very helpful Book in the areas of humility and self-discipline.

This in his administrative times .

The Instructions on Discipleship

‘’As the father has sent me even so I am sending you.” These are the words of Jesus to his disciples in John 20:21. It is a clear instruction to his disciples on that day of his resurrection. Indeed as we read the gospel narratives, the challenge to be witnesses to his resurrection and to the message of the gospel rings out clearly. As Jesus winds up his earthly ministry, the Mission’s mandate for the Church becomes a very strong emphasis in the gospels!

The Church in Africa needs to rise to the challenge of missions and be envisioning and mobilising its large membership for this cause. These missions’ efforts must however be founded in the teaching and practice of that which is truly biblical! And so the Church must embrace faithful, biblical discipleship and training. The need for training, the need for partnership, and the place of the local church in mission cannot be over emphasised.

Just over a year now, Global Link Afrika has sought the championship of cause missions, providing teaching and training, partnering with likeminded individuals and organisations, working with the local churches in expanding the Kingdom, and sharing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ at a very local level.

We are convinced that as a mission’s ministry we are called to serve and bridge the gap between gifts, passions, callings, training and opportunities. We continue to identify ministry and service opportunities and respectively link those that the Lord has called to serve!

BY: Samuel Opolot

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Students Trained in Inductive Bible Study

“thank you for opening our eyes,” “I must now take my Bible Study more seriously,” “Thank you for helping me to see how to make meaning out of what I read in the Bible”  These were some of the comments from the participants at a training on Inductive Bible Study which was conducted at the Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery. The training in Inductive Bible Study was in response to a request by the leadership of the Christian Union of Mulago School of Nursing and midwifery. This training brought together 21 students, most of whom were first year students who are being groomed to become Bible Study leaders in the fellowship.

On the 18th /Jan /2013, I organized inductive bible study training for a group of youth at Victory Outreach Church in lira. After attending the conference, we decided that we needed more forums that would bring us together around the word of God and learning together from scriptures. This training brought together 17 participants. Our aim was to walk through basic principles in Bible studies. On that date we covered, why we study scripture, different methods of bible study, challenges in bible studies, inductive bible study (OIA Principles)

To many of them, it was surprising to note certain things which they had not known before notable; I have really not been interpreting scripture the way it should have been’. Another person said… “I am not going to rush myself to preach before I really understand what the text means and how it applies to the congregation…”

From the training, they committed themselves to having personal study time and exercising quiet time.

Some though noted challenges of not having a bible, lack of bible study guides.

It was then agreed that we will be having weekly bible studies with the group.

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Community Outreach

‘I wasn’t very sure if I would get anyone to come especially since a cup of tea was not guaranteed’

Usually, most house groups or home cells are made up of people from the same church and living along the same street etc. But in my house it’s a mix of 5 different churches. A few months after leaving FOCUS ministry, I was driven by a passion to do something for my community especially in the area of the study of scripture. I started randomly inviting people in the neighborhood to my house for bible study every Wednesday evening. I made it clear that it would be strictly bible study; tea will appear only when I can afford it. I wasn’t very sure if I would get anyone to come especially since a cup of tea was not guaranteed and yet its often a good motivator. All the same I talked to sellers at the supermarket, people I met on the road regularly, friends at the shops…and whoever God placed in my way regularly, I would invite. Today 7 of us have been meeting for 3 months now on a weekly basis for one and a half hours to study scripture. Every Wednesday 8pm-9.30pm after I put the kids to bed, we start off our study. The members have shared how these studies seem to always tie in to their current situations are helping them grow as Christians.

We completed a study on ‘Wisdom’ by Bill Hybels and are currently studying‘Walking in the will of God’.

It is a privilege to be able to share with these young people (most of them in their mid and late 20’s) from the experience I have had from discipling students, but also benefiting from my theological background.

Pray for the impact of these studies to spread in the community and for members to plant the

lessons deep in their hearts and not loose it to the worries and cares of this world.”

Dorcas Letasi

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Word of Truth

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” 1 Tim 4:15

At the heart of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in this verse are two critical issues that the Church in Uganda and probably the world over needs to grapple with. These two issues are Personal Integrity In The Sight Of God, and Integrity In Handling Of The Word Of Truth.

It is God’s desire that His children who represent Him in the world ought to live in such a manner as to bring Him honour and glory. This we do by demonstrating God’s attributes to the world, in other words our lives should match up to our beliefs and teachings.

This means that our moral standing must be of the highest standard because we know that the one we represent is one who is pure as pure light. The Scripture declares that “…in Him there is no darkness…” This means that in our choices daily we ought to choose to honour Him in our use of time, in our relationships, in the use of our money, in our money making adventures, in our ministry and service to Him! It is also our mandate to work hard not only to understand God’s Word but also to teach it and apply it correctly and faithfully.

Paul charges Timothy to correctly handle the word of truth. Today we see God’s word twisted and used to justify abuse, greed and deception. It is important that God’s people seek to study and understand God’s word. That we seek to apply it faithfully to our life situations if indeed we recognise God’s word as the ultimate authority for our beliefs and practice.

This however requires that we have the necessary knowledge and skill to fully appropriate the treasure that is God’s Word! We ought to invest in learning how to learn from God’s word.

I am convinced living as one approved, not needing to be ashamed is highly dependent upon how deeply we are immersed in God’s truth. It should be the goal of every believer to be deeply rooted in the truth of God! It is with this recognition that our efforts to teach people God’s word, how to study it and how to teach it should never be diminished.

Samuel Opolot