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  • Tony Lynn

IMB/NAMB Overseas Together

PLYMOUTH – I am going to an undisclosed location in South-Central Asia, and I cannot believe the privilege I get to experience. My travel partners, the missionaries on-site, and the people we are going to meet would love to have you pray for us. Four of us are going from Michigan this year.


On April 21, 2023, I will depart from Detroit Metro Airport participating in the first-ever, joint effort of the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) venture to send church planters overseas to discover how international mission works among our churches and the world!

Dr. Paul Chitwood, President of the International Mission Board along with Dr. Kevin Ezell, President of the North American Mission Board, and Dr. Vance Pitman, President of the Send Network made this enduring mission effort possible. I agree with, and I am inspired by, their collective vision and the priority of resourcing such an undertaking. This year, approximately fifty church planters will visit one of five mission sites: two are in Europe and three are in South-central Asia. In the coming years, we are hoping one-hundred planters, annually, will take the plunge into a short international mission’s experience.

Very few of today’s newest church leaders grew up attending age-graded classes at church learning missionary stories, world geography, and memorizing Bible verses about going to the nations with the Gospel. Fewer have met and interacted with missionaries from our churches on assignment in their mission field. Meeting and interacting with courageous heroes of the faith can be life-altering! I am certain the experiences for these church planters will do the following:

  1. Personalize international missions for the man and the church he leads.

  2. Increase their generosity in terms of prayers, personnel, and provisions.

  3. Display the international pathways open to church members and church leaders.

The outcome of this experience is going to yield results for generations. Here are a few examples of what I believe will occur.

See

The church planters will see a contrast. Endorsed church planters, serving in North America, receive limited supplements to help them and their families create new churches. Endorsed, commissioned international missionaries receive overwhelming support while living abroad for years at a time. Language learning, lodging, travel expenses (locally and globally), salaries, health insurance, and other needs to complete the mission are generously made possible by the generosity of church members in the North American churches. Those funds are distributed worldwide in efficient ways by the IMB to those on the frontlines of the mission.

Hear

The church planters will hear people who need to know Jesus. There is nothing more powerful than the following two experiences:


  1. worshiping with believers in a language you do not understand and

  2. sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through a translator then hear the recipient of the message say that he or she wants to invite Jesus Christ into their lives.


Those two experiences display how great God is, and how alike human beings are worldwide. Lostness is the world’s greatest problem and Jesus Christ is the solution.

Increase

The church planters will learn to enlarge their vision. As I lived overseas during my thirteen years of international service in Africa then Europe my heart grew three times larger for the multiple people groups scattered throughout the world. It took an overseas life for me to increase my vision. I have watched as church planters in North America experience their first calling to church planting, aim at reaching a precise people in a location or a language group become so focused that the church planter becomes a spiritual “sniper” targeting precise individuals his local church can reach and disciple. That is normal for North American church planters; but it is going to be inspiring to watch as the hearts of minds of my travel buddies become burdened for the peoples of the world during our excursion. That burden will be lived out locally in North America after their return, as well as overseas as these men will send future generations from their churches to the world. That larger vision will transform the prayers, the lives, the preaching, and even the future of these North American church planters. I am certain!

Prayer Requests

If you would join the families and churches of the church planters in prayer during our preparation and during our excursion, we would be grateful. This is literally the first-ever IMB/NAMB overseas trip in history among our tribe of churches.

Here are the prayer requests:

  1. Continued good health in the church planters and their family members so that no one needs to cancel their overseas trip.

  2. Precise planning among the IMB missionaries that will bring about the Lord’s desires for salvations and life-dedications among the people groups with whom we will serve.

  3. Avoidance of distractions from the mission goals, such as the political riots in the city streets where we are going in South-Central Asia. Life’s unexpected happens all the time, but we want the Lord’s will to be done within our circle of influence while in country.

Receive updates during the next 45 days on Facebook or Twitter, on my personal page DrTonyLLynn or at SendNetworkMichigan/SendMichigan.

 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Tony L. Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.



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