Special Missions

 

Yes, those two words can bring so many feelings to the surface of your heart.  As baptized disciples we understand that we have to give up everything (Luke 14:33).  But sometimes we can wonder where “Special Missions” came from? And why would disciples have to give a certain amount (4x’s or 15x’s) on a certain day? If you have ever wondered about the answer to those two questions, you’re not alone. Other disciples have as well.  Special Missions wasn’t something that was created in the 21st century, but in fact was something that was used by the first century church.

The charge for all the churches!

1 Corinthians 16:1-5 “1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 …5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you.”

~54AD~ Paul writes to the disciples in Corinth and calls them to raise money.  Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch (the churches in Galatia) had already been instructed to do so as well. Not only the disciples in Galatia were called to this “Special Missions”, but also Philippi, Berea and all the churches in Macedonia. And now Paul is calling for the churches in Achaia: Athens and Corinth, to do the same. In the 21st century we call every disciple in all the churches do be united in a “Special Missions”: London, Kiev, Stockholm, Novosibirsk, Tallinn and Madrid, Abidjan, Kinshasa, Ethiopia, Hire, Sao Palo, Santiago, New Delhi, Nairobi, Mumbai, Moscow, Manila, Guam, Curacao, Chennai, Brisbane and all the International Churches, along with Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Eugene, Hilo, Honolulu, San Diego, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Syracuse, Washington DC, Manchester and all the churches in the United States. The call is the same now, 1958 years later, every disciple in every church would be able to save money until the day that it is collected, calling it a “Special Missions”.

Six months later, Paul writes the church again:

2 Corinthians 8:1-6 ”1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 …5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will”

Out of extreme poverty, far worse than that of the United kingdom, God allowed the churches to raise more than their goal. That means they were assigned a special amount to raise, either a 4x’s or 15x’s. The amount was up to the leadership and the need for the movement. But they did not rob God in the process; they still gave their weekly contribution. God doesn’t look favorably on disciples who try to rob Peter to pay Paul, in other words to rob God to pay special missions. We have to make sure that disciples continue to give themselves first to the Lord in their weekly contribution, and then to the movement for special missions (which is also to God).

Right understanding of Giving Special:

 2 Corinthians 8:9 “9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

The disciples in Corinth need to be persuaded to imitate Christ, who left his home in Heaven, left his Father to come to Earth, gave up his kingdom to become a servant, and gave up his life to death on a cross. Sometimes we get focused on the wrong things during Special Missions when what we should be focused on is what it took for us to be saved. What if Jesus had held back? What if he had thoughts like “if I don’t die, someone else will.  After all, how important is my sacrifice?” We have to understand it was because Jesus was willing to sacrifice everything that we can share in having eternal salvation.  In the same way, whether we sacrifice everything, or fail to do so, determines if others can share in this eternal life. Your sacrifice means all the difference.  When you hold back, it might mean the impossibility of someone being saved. Souls are on the line in proportion to your sacrifice.

2Corinthians 9:9-13 “ 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”… 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”

God rewards with eternal life those who are willing to obey the calling. Not only does special missions supply the physical need of your brothers around the world, it results directly in people receiving salvation, and so results in praise to God. Your sacrifice saves souls.  How much is a human soul worth?

The City of Angels Church was planted on a sacrifice of the Portland Church giving 15x March 2007. The church then became self-supporting because each member gave 10x November 2007 (remainder of the money used to send out other churches). They gave 15x April 2008, 2009 along with a 4x November 2009. They then continued to sacrifice 15x April 2010, 2011 and again a 4x November 2011. This brings the total sacrifice to 93x their weekly contribution! What did their sacrifice produce? Well, in just 4 years the City of Angels Church has sent out 117 disciples to plant mission field churches or to strengthen leadership of preexisting fellowships. Disciples went to Honolulu, New York City, Portland, San Diego, London, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Washington DC, Hilo, Kiev and Chicago! That means in just 4 years the Lord took 42 members of the original City of Angels Church and multiplied them to 1,500 disciples around the world with a Sunday attendance approaching 2500! In just 4 years the Lord took that 1 church and made it into 39 churches in 20 different countries (“church planting churches” and “remnant group churches”) and is still counting to this day! What can a “special missions” do? Simply show God that we have the faith to evangelize the world!

Again you can ask the question, how much is a human soul worth? Better yet, how much was yours worth?

Special Missions isn’t optional, it’s an obligation:

Romans 15:26-29 “26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

Special Missions isn’t an option for disciples, in fact we are obligated to do it! Where did you hear the Gospel? From whom did you hear it? How is it that you have come to know Christ? I tell you it was from a baptized disciple. It was from a church that is composed of only sold-out disciples and has the dream to reach the ends of the Earth in one generation. The reason that church is there is because people were willing to sacrifice everything they had. As Paul tells the Church in Rome, the reason all the churches gave was that they understood that without the church in Jerusalem there would be no movement around the world. In the same way, we can understand that without the movement, most of us wouldn’t be saved. And because we owe our salvation first to God and then to our brothers and sisters and to the movement, a “Special Missions” of 15x is nothing compared to that. Let us now do more than our leaders ask this “Special Missions” and lets us give at least 15x and see the movement grow daily in numbers and to God be all the Glory and Honor, Amen.

Love,

Coltin Leondus Rohn