CMS vision: Engage churches in cross-cultural mission
Posted on: 19th March 2018
CMS Tasmania State Director Scott Sargent wants individuals in churches everywhere to have confidence in the role they play in God’s mission. Here, he gives biblical foundation to the CMS vision to engage churches in cross-cultural mission.
I’ve spent time in uniform: first as a Tasmanian police officer, then as an army reserve officer—a chaplain. In an army, the infantry soldier is the pointy end of the spear, but it takes a whole organisation to get that soldier ready for and into the battle. If one area of the supporting group fails or is dysfunctional, the soldier on the front line suffers, as does the mission. This is a great comparison to the work of a missionary, as they are sent out by an army of praying supporters who form part of the CMS fellowship.
This is why I visit churches in Tasmania and encourage them to be involved in our work.
For if the world is going to be won for Jesus, our churches, and we as individuals, must all know and understand how we can be involved in and how we can contribute to the mission—either as the pointy end of the spear, or in some other equally critical supporting role.
Two reasons for confidence
I encourage people to be confident in this work because of two great comforts contained within Jesus’ great commission in Matthew 28:16–20:
- Jesus is King and Lord over this world: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he declares. Jesus has authority over every Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist and agnostic; every man, woman and child; every Serb, Zulu, Eskimo, Maori, Arab and Hmong—without exception. If we preach Jesus faithfully, we can expect a response.
- We can be confident because our King and Lord is with us as we go about the mission: “Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age,” he says. Through the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus will be with us to the very end of human history.
We need people to be the shaft of the spear—those who pray, care and give in support of our front-line, point-of-the-spear missionaries—and we also need those people who are willing to go and make disciples of the nations.
Will you join us in Jesus’ mission?
Stories from CMS branches
Here are some examples of how, in ways great and small, CMS branches across Australia are sharing the CMS vision with the fellowship of believers.
New CMS SANT Regional Director Katy Smith was introduced at the SANT Summer Encounter conference.
Katy reminded people that “Christ’s work was achieved in our past so that we can focus on the future where knees from every tribe, language and nation will bow to him. We are Christ-centred, because our conviction that unites us as a fellowship of believers is that there is one Lord over all and it is through him that salvation goes to the ends of the earth.”
CMS NSW & ACT
CMS NSW & ACT missionary M* says: “CMS missionaries visiting Canberra have often organised ‘fireside chats’ with interested mission supporters. That conjures up cosy images of chatting around a roaring fire, perfect for cold Canberra nights. In reality, the conversation is good, but the fire is just a picture projected onto the wall with a heater on nearby!
“There were two key things I learned at these nights. First, the long-term value of good preparation. As a 19-year-old, seven years of training sounded like a lot. But the personal stories of someone who’d completed that training made both a ministry traineeship and theological college sound important and even enjoyable. (On the other side of that training, seven years doesn’t seem long at all!)
“The second thing I learned, and perhaps most importantly, was that missionaries are normal people—not super-Christians, but faithful brothers and sisters passionate about seeing the world know Jesus. Maybe even I could be like them, I thought.
“As a new CMS missionary, I found myself speaking at a ‘fireside chat’ recently. It felt surreal to be on the other side of the questions. But it was incredibly encouraging to see how God continues to raise up men and women in our churches to go to the nations.”
CMS Victoria organised some practical church engagement for CMS missionaries Andrew & Dominique Gifford in the form of a team of eight Christians who travelled to Barcelona over Christmas. They offered free ‘English conversation experiences’ to the locals. When people learned they had come all the way from Australia to help, they were happily surprised. Gifts given sincerely in Jesus’ name have a special way of softening hearts.
Scott Sargent, in his role as State Director of CMS Tasmania, has travelled regularly to promote the mission of CMS. He often speaks on the great commission (Matthew 28:16–20), encouraging and empowering congregational members to get involved in global mission through prayer, care and giving. In 2017, he preached at 26 different local churches. Pray that God would raise up more workers for the mission field!
CMS QNNSW missionary M* knows that even the smallest local church is able to be global-minded: “Before becoming a CMS missionary, I was part of a small country church, Bangalow Presbyterian. News from global mission partners was shared and prayed for on most Sundays. This little church is sharing the gospel with the local community—and across the world! As Shakespeare wrote, ‘though she be but little, she is fierce!’”
CMS WA organises events throughout the year so that their supporters can come together and learn about what is happening.
CMS WA Membercare Manager Kath Thornhill says: “There is joy mixed with sorrow as we commission our gospel workers; the challenge of God’s mission as we sit under his word at Summer Conferences; the marvel of God’s hand in this world as we celebrate over dinner; falling on our knees when urgent prayer requests are received… In short, as we are engaged to see a world that knows Jesus.”
A key supporting role is being a mission advocate in your local church, linked either to an individual missionary or to CMS more broadly. Could you be that person? Contact your CMS branch to find out how you can get involved.
* Names removed for security reasons.