The needs in the world are great, but Jesus’ love for the world is even greater.
Jesus’ love extends to the world through the church, as we are called to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus calls us to live out the Great Commission and to respond with Great Compassion to the needs of the world. As we step out in faith to meet with people in their need and share the Good News, we ourselves grow as disciples.
As you look for ways to lead your church growing as disciples of Jesus Christ during the season of Lent, consider inviting them to a Great Commission & Great Compassion commitment. So often, we invite people to focus on inward spirituality alone during this season – with invitations to fasting and prayer. This is vital, of course! But Jesus’ primary way of making disciples was to send people out to serve, heal, and proclaim. Discipleship during Lent should involve our people going to serve, heal and proclaim the Kingdom of God!
I began to be formed by a Great Commission & Great Compassion Lenten discipleship as a child. I can remember gathering up loose change, depositing it into a cardboard fish bank, and carrying the jangling bank of coins to Sunday School each week during Lent. I learned the joy of making a difference in the world at a young age from my parents and Sunday School teachers. I never imagined my pennies could solve the world’s problems, but I knew that in Jesus’ hands they could make a life-transforming difference for someone. Through my giving I grew in awareness of the needs of others. In this weekly commitment, I was being shaped as a disciple of Jesus.
Sometimes children can lead the way in helping us live this out by their simple faith response and willingness to make a difference in the ways that they can. A special mission offering can be a simple tool to help children and adults alike learn to be disciples, giving for the sake of others instead of ourselves.
Here are some suggestions for how you can engage your congregation in missional discipleship during this Lenten Season with a special mission offering.
While we encourage you to strengthen your own mission relationships through a special offering, our ECO Global Mission partners offer the following important ways you can get involved with your generous gifts.
The Antioch Partners (TAP) serves ECO churches in the assessment, training and support of those called to long-term, cross-cultural, incarnational ministry. Many of these missionaries are in challenging contexts and sometimes they are faced with unexpected, even emergency, situations. When this happens, TAP is there through the Partner Special Needs Fund. Given the reality of our world today and the number of TAP missionaries that have needed assistance from this fund, the fund urgently needs to be replenished. Click here to learn more and make your gift.
A Frontier Fellowship partner on the Arabian Peninsula is doing evangelism with Muslims who come to him secretly for spiritual counsel. Yes, these are modern day Nicodemus types. Sometimes these Muslim seekers have had dreams of Isa (Jesus) and need to know next steps. This pastor is stepping down from his parish to handle the evangelism opportunities full time. Your gift helps him redirect his efforts toward helping this new wave of Muslim Background Believers find their way into the Kingdom. You can learn more and make a gift online, www.frontierfellowship.com.
The Outreach Foundation invites you to come alongside other ECO congregations to support the work and witness of the Presbyterian Church in Syria through its 18 congregations and eight pastors. They are dedicated to assisting families, Christian and Muslim alike, caught up in the ravages of war. Gifts will support their simple but lifesaving needs: food, medicine, housing, heating fuel, and more. Your congregation can help. Learn more about the special ECO Lenten offering and resources for your church online, www.theoutreachfoundation.org/eco.
Join World Renew in helping entire communities escape poverty through programs that bring about enough food, good health, and fruitful work for the long term. 795 million people in the world experience hunger every day, living without enough food to lead a productive life. The World Renew World Hunger Program supports work in 28 countries around the world --assisting those experiencing poverty, disaster, and injustice. You can view and order resources on their website, www.worldrenew.net.
To learn more about ECO Global Engagement or to share your Lenten mission practices, please get in touch with Jen Haddox, Director of Global Engagement, email@example.com.