We are in the midst of our annual missions conference and so far it has been a tremendous blessing. Our focus is on the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the planting of churches along that great expanse. Eight years ago, when I was the youth pastor, I helped lead our first team to Juarez to be part of the church planting effort in that city. At the same time we began supporting the work of Dan and Becky Young and have sent a summer team or teams ever since. It has been a total blessing. For our conference this year we have Dan Young, Gene Bowman (team leader), and Cartee Bales (Kirk of the Hills, St. Louis, Missions Pastor) speaking and exciting us about increasing our overall commitment to the border ministry. I have been part of four teams down to Juarez and can't wait to go back again some time, maybe even this summer taking my oldest son. Hearing these brothers and their wives really pumps up the congregation to be a greater part of what God is doing on the border and in the world.
Proclaiming the name of Christ by word and deed in every land should be the natural heartbeat of any Christ-centered church. We should long to see His name glorified among the nations and no matter what stage a particular church is in, it ought to find ways to be part of what God is doing the world over. I am looking forward to our church maturing to greater and greater missions participation and an ever improving world vision. Our church has partnered with multiple missionaries and has been able to send individuals and teams to a few different places, but our commitment to Mexico has been long term (for our young church) and I see it continuing for a long time. No matter what your take on immigration, reaching the border for Christ is a strategic move for the Church to be focused on, especially in our times. The words of Oscar J. Martinez in his book Border People, says "Nowhere else do so many millions of people from two so dissimilar nations live in such close proximity and interact with each other so intensely." The border is a truly unique place in all the world. What an opportunity!
Mission to the World (MTW) is the PCA's sending agency. Under the umbrella of MTW is Border Evangelism and Mercy Ministry (BEAMM), our denominations unique border ministry. I love BEAMM's vision for church planting for the next 20 years. Check out their site when you have a chance.
Tonight Gene Bowman will speak on the issue of immigration and how it presents an opportunity for missions on the border.