Participants: Karen Thomas, Jason McCracken
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000065
00:01 ¤ ¤
00:31 Welcome to another edition of Issues and Answers.
00:33 I'm Karen Thomas. We're so glad that you joined us today. Our
00:36 special guest is Jason McCracken. He's back with us. Came all the
00:40 way from Maryland for this program and we're so glad that
00:42 you're with us today, Jason.
00:43 Thank you. God bless you. Thank you so much.
00:45 Let me just kind of refresh our audience a little bit about you.
00:50 Jason has traveled all over the world. He's lived in Brazil.
00:54 He's fluent in Portuguese, English and a few other ones.
00:59 Spanish, OK. And he is a marketing representative for the
01:03 Review and Herald Publishing Association. He is known to a
01:07 lot of people as the representative for the Message
01:11 magazine and Insight magazine publications and he is also a
01:15 youth evangelist and has been instrumental in bringing over
01:19 2000 souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. So what is our topic
01:24 today? Well, we're going to be talking
01:25 about Bible foundations for the mission of the local church and
01:30 we're going to focus on how a small church can grow.
01:35 Well that's good. Normally in North America you
01:38 have a lot of small churches and I have visited many and pastored
01:43 some and sometimes they're so small they don't want to grow
01:46 and that's an issue. We need to help them grow.
01:50 Well you know I imaging too that in other places around the world
01:54 maybe where there's a work that is just getting started that the
01:58 congregation is small so for those that are listening in
02:01 other places, I'm sure that you will find information that will
02:05 be very helpful today. Oh, most definitely. First of
02:07 all I think we're going to start off with the Bible.
02:10 That's a good place to start.
02:11 That's a great place to start and I'm going to read from
02:15 Matthew chapter 28 and let's begin with verse 16.
02:25 Matthew 28:16. Yes verse 16. OK
02:29 And it says here: Then the 11 disciples went away into Galilee
02:34 into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they
02:38 saw him they worshipped him but some doubted. And Jesus came and
02:43 spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven
02:47 and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing
02:51 them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
02:56 Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
03:01 commanded you and, lo I am with you always even unto the end of
03:06 the world, Amen. We can see that Jesus had appeared on a mountain
03:10 in Galilee, you can find this in Mark chapter 16, verse 15, and
03:16 also through 18. Here Jesus is with 11 disciples and he's in a
03:21 mountain and he appointed them to go and to preach. He wanted
03:26 them first of all to teach all nations, then baptize them in
03:29 the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
03:33 After that baptism there's a continuation of teaching because
03:38 here, the gerund now, teaching them to observe all things. Now
03:42 Jesus had left a number of things in the Bible to be taught
03:46 and so that is discipling, making disciples and in small
03:50 churches we have a problem with making disciples. One of the
03:55 major reasons is because we feel we're too comfortable and when
04:00 we're too comfortable we don't grow ordinarily. So we're going
04:03 get right into our Bible foundations, but let me show you
04:07 there are seven different foundations for the Bible.
04:11 And when we look at these seven different Biblical foundations
04:15 we will see that the small church can really grow. Let's
04:19 start with the congregation.
04:21 When we look at a congregation let's say a small congregation
04:25 or a medium size congregation the congregation has to have a
04:28 mission. That's recorded from the word of God. Go ye therefore
04:32 unto all the world and preach. Once they establish that mission
04:35 they're empowered by the Holy Spirit there are now some
04:38 essentials that they need to understand. Number 1 the gospel
04:43 message of Jesus Christ which is the center of their teaching.
04:48 Number 2. The mission to make disciples. Number 3. The
04:54 ministry of every believer, every individual in that
05:00 congregation must understand that they have a mission. They
05:04 just can't sit in a congregation but they must respond to its
05:08 call. Number 4. The role and function of the Holy Spirit as
05:12 it plays a very active part in their lives and also the role
05:16 of the congregation. And the
05:18 church as the body of Christ.
05:21 The entire church the ecclesia, which is in Greek, which means
05:25 church is the body of Christ.
05:29 Number 5. The growth to maturity
05:33 in Christ. Number 6. The headship of Jesus Christ and
05:38 then the last, which is very important, the role and function
05:42 of pastors. That's one of the key points we're going to talk
05:47 about today. OK. So let's move on. Let's deal with the outreach
05:51 to the community. One of the first essentials is the outreach
05:55 to the community. When we look at outreach in the community,
06:00 most of us have an idea what are we going to do in the
06:03 community. Are we just going to go and tell people that Jesus is
06:06 coming or what are we going to establish. What type of outreach
06:09 Number 1:...
06:21 How can we do that? First of all when we provide a range of
06:26 services... I'm speaking of services that, things that are
06:29 happening within our church structure that we can offer to
06:34 the community such as scouting. Such as our community service.
06:38 We can feed the homeless or even having workshops in the
06:43 community talking to people who do not have fathers. What about
06:50 widows? What about homeless people. They need words of
06:56 comfort and cheer. There are so many things that we can do in
07:01 the community that they church would be sitting around for
07:05 years trying to establish an organized program, how to make
07:09 these things function. The church can be very active in the
07:13 community. I think some churches maybe
07:15 don't know, some congregations, which ones should they pursue.
07:20 How can they maybe make that decision?
07:23 OK let's take an inner city. An inner city has a variety of
07:27 problems because you have a lot of people concentrated in the
07:32 city. In the countryside, the problems are not as great. But
07:37 some of them are hidden. For example, if you have people who
07:41 are divorced in the inner city, you have people who are divorced
07:45 in the countryside as well. But they need the same hope and
07:49 comfort as people in the city. The problems are basically
07:54 the same because sin brought us that way. The disasters of New
07:59 York and Washington D.C. have lead us to believe that the
08:05 problems in the inner city are the same problems in the country
08:10 and that's why we need to provide a range of services that
08:15 meet the needs of persons in our community. Let's go in that same
08:21 essential, outreach to the community and the world let's
08:24 go to essential number 2...
08:33 There are many people that are hurting within our communities,
08:38 our neighbors, our friends, they are hurting. They smile but we
08:43 don't even know who they're hurting. So that's why we need
08:46 to display compassion.
08:49 You know some people, in traveling, they've talked to me
08:52 and they've said you know I don't know how to show
08:58 compassion, or I don't know what to do. Some people maybe if they
09:02 didn't have compassion growing up or in their families of
09:06 origin or maybe they haven't seen it demonstrated. What kind
09:10 of things, tangible things, could a person maybe who's
09:13 branching out into this new area of actually not necessarily have
09:19 an agenda of religion but of caring.
09:21 Let me give you an example. Recently I was on a plane and
09:26 they upgraded me to first class. I don't know how that happened
09:29 but I was very happy. That was a real blessing.
09:32 But right behind me this young lady was crying profusely. She
09:36 was just crying and crying and I was wondering what was happening
09:39 So I got up and went to the rest room and I noticed that she had
09:44 a captain's cap that had plastic around it. So I figured well
09:49 maybe she's taking that some where or to a different city
09:54 and I just sat there and prayed and I said Lord tell me, I need
09:58 to have compassion, show it to this young lady. When we all
10:02 stood up and they couldn't get the door open because they had
10:06 to wait for the plane to dock correctly, I turned to her and
10:11 said, you're hurting aren't you? What happened. She said my
10:18 father was a pilot in this airline and I'm going to bury
10:25 him and I hugged her. And I said you know what I'm going to a
10:30 youth retreat and this evening I will have all the young people
10:35 stand up and we're going to pray for your entire family.
10:40 She cried again. That's compassion. I didn't have to say
10:44 guess what church I'm from. Come to my church tomorrow. We prayed
10:50 for her for two days, Friday night and then on Sabbath.
10:56 And I called out her name publically. I expressed to the
11:00 the congregation that she had a need and we need for the
11:05 presence of the Holy Spirit to touch her. And when she got off
11:10 the plane she had crowd of people waiting for her and she
11:13 said do you see that man over there? Their entire congregation
11:19 is going to pray for us. That's compassion. That's what we need
11:25 to show to our community. Because Jesus had compassion and
11:31 his disciples need to have compassion. When there's
11:34 somebody dying in the community, we should be there,
11:37 knock on their doors, right there hugging them caring for
11:44 them, showing them in the Bible the precious promises that Jesus
11:50 had compassion and that Jesus will handle it for us. Let's go
11:55 to number 3. This is what I like
12:05 Did you not know that in America today we have so many different
12:11 cultures. People can look like they're from Africa and they can
12:16 be from Brazil. People can look like they're Caucasian and they
12:21 can be from Scandinavia. People can look like they're brown
12:25 skinned and they can be from Mexico, all white and they can
12:30 be from Alaska, maybe the Philippines. People of different
12:36 cultures have grown, born, reared, gone to school, they
12:41 were educated in this country and so now they're going to
12:45 church. And when we see people of different cultures we need to
12:51 make sure that we understand their culture. Lot of people say
12:55 some of my best friends are from your culture. That's not what
12:59 I'm talking about. I'm talking about learning and understanding
13:02 their culture even some of their language background. Even some
13:05 of their good food. I enjoy traveling. I just enjoy eating
13:10 certain types of food. Well I have to be health conscious of
13:15 course at all times. But eating certain foods and I acquire a
13:18 taste and I say I just love it. So when I go to their culture
13:22 I say, hey I love this. For example, I did a campmeeting
13:25 recently and it was all Philippinos. They came from all
13:28 over the east coast. And the first thing I said to them when
13:33 I got up in the pulpit, I said manonangopo and they all
13:37 screamed. And then I said I just love ponset. Yeah, it is good.
13:43 And you know what, that afternoon they gave me this type
13:49 of dress, this formal dress that they use. It's a shirt and
13:54 there's an undershirt underneath it. It's a formal setting for a
13:58 minister. And I preached in it. They gave it to me. I enjoyed
14:03 it; it was wonderful. And they said this, he is a part of our
14:09 culture. Learning to assimilate and understand cultures. That
14:14 is the key of accepting cultures into your church. Let's go to
14:20 number 4...
14:32 Now a strong public awareness means that we need to market our
14:37 church in the community. If we don't market our church in the
14:41 community, they don't know that we're in the community, but if
14:46 foster a strong public awareness of the congregation as a caring
14:50 Christ-centered resource in the community people will be
14:53 knocking our doors down to come to church.
14:56 You know, I don't know if you've seen any church billboards but
14:59 they have some really neat ones out there. I mean there's one
15:03 that is the Friendly Regional Church. Big billboard saying
15:07 welcome, come over here. Like you said, especially newcomers
15:11 coming to the community, they wouldn't know that your church
15:14 is there or that a church is on this particular street for some
15:17 time, but it's a way of welcoming people. I like that
15:19 idea. Also you can use a website to
15:23 show what you're church looks like on the inside. I must have
15:27 passed 100's of churches in my lifetime, literally 1000's of
15:31 churches and I would like to see well what does that church look
15:33 like inside. I wonder what it looks like. Well if you put your
15:36 website up and you can show video clips of certain sermons.
15:40 They will see your church, what are you doing. They would see
15:44 that you're singing hymns, they would see that you're praising
15:47 God. A lot of people have a misconception about what goes on
15:51 inside those doors. And we need to help them understand what is
15:54 happening inside those doors by promoting a strong public
15:59 awareness about out church. That is one of the secrets of sharing
16:04 Christ in the community, letting people know who you are. Let's
16:07 go to the next one here. This is good, I like this one, this is
16:11 so good, ooh this is juicy. Urge members to be actively involved
16:18 in public moral issues as a Christian witness. That's tough
16:23 Now how do we do that. Urge members to be actively involved
16:29 in public moral issues?
16:32 Well I'll tell you. You know this person, Jesse Wilson. Yes.
16:36 Do you want to tell the viewers about that situation. Remember
16:39 when there was some kind of controversy in the community
16:44 and he stepped right out and this is Riverside, California;
16:48 he stepped right out and immediately, in a very positive
16:52 way to the community, he was able to calm the community and
16:56 hence they also became aware of the Campus Adventist Church.
17:01 Yeah. You see when there's a public issue, for example, if a
17:05 young person was viciously beaten, mobbed and the
17:12 community happens to be against that particular family, maybe
17:16 the son in that community caused this grief and so the community
17:21 retaliates, throws rocks at the house. Now the church needs to
17:26 step in. Ah, see this is kind of the
17:30 opposite side. Yeah, we're with the good guys. We're going to
17:34 minister to that bad guy, that so called bad guy.
17:37 Let's say how would Christ treat this person? We have to deal
17:46 with the issues that are plaguing our community. If not
17:50 what is the function of a church in a community? If the church is
17:56 just there to be a beautiful building, the grass is cut, the
18:02 bells may be ringing but if the members are not involved in the
18:07 community then the people in the community don't even know that
18:11 the church really exists. They just think that's there for just
18:15 for one day a week only. We have to be actively involved in the
18:19 community. We have to make sure that those moral issues... For
18:23 example, one of the biggest issues that is taking place
18:25 right now is prayer in schools. Should I pray in school. Should
18:29 I say a meditative prayer? Should I pray in school? Is the
18:33 school going to allow me? Another issue that's happening
18:36 is the American flag. Did you hear that recently that they are
18:41 not interested in people saying the pledge of allegiance to the
18:46 flag in some schools because it has the word God in it and they
18:51 think that will offend somebody. The Church needs to take a
18:56 stand. We need to defend God. Even on our bills In God We
19:00 Trust, there are people who are saying we don't even need the
19:05 word God on our own money. That's an issue. That's a moral
19:09 issue and we need to take an active stance.
19:12 OK now what about some of these other issues like abortion, gay
19:18 rights. These are other issues that you see people very
19:23 involved in. What about those kinds of issues?
19:27 Or can a local church handle that?
19:28 Well I'll give you a great example. Because I was working
19:32 in a large community in Canada and I was kind of popular.
19:37 I used to go get my hair cut. Not now, but at that time I used
19:39 to get my hair cut. And I used to go to the barber shop and
19:42 they used to cut my hair and we used to talk about these issues
19:46 in the community and one of them was about homosexuality and the
19:50 Bible. Well next think I know I get a phone call. Pastor we want
19:53 you on our radio station talking about homosexuality and
19:55 the Bible. So I said Uh hum, really. So McGill University
20:00 in Montreal
20:01 Canada asked me to come to their radio station and talk about it.
20:05 Well I got all the Bible texts together and a lot of
20:08 interesting facts and information and I went to the
20:11 radio station and there were three people there. One was a
20:15 lesbian, one was homosexual and the other was in favor. And so
20:20 I'm sitting in the middle and now they're on the radio station
20:24 promoting it and now after a brief word from our sponsor
20:28 guess who's on next? I'm on next and now I'm like in the middle
20:33 of a whole city tuned in to FM frequency and they want to hear
20:40 what the pastor has to say about it. My response was Jesus died
20:48 for all. Jesus has compassion. Jesus does not condone the sin.
20:55 He loves the sinner but hates the sin. When the sinner comes
21:02 to Christ, Christ will make the difference in their lives. Amen.
21:08 I didn't have to read those. I had so many statements from the
21:11 Bible. I didn't have to read them. And then the people in the
21:16 community started responding on the telephone. Yeah that's right
21:19 pastor, go ahead, you're doing the right thing. Jesus loves the
21:22 sinner, he hates the sin, that's OK. I sat there for the next
21:25 half hour and the whole community was actually defending
21:29 and so those who were actually in the radio studio after the
21:32 session they came in and said hey that was pretty good and
21:35 one of them said you know what? I used to be a Christian.
21:38 I said it's not too late to give yourself to Jesus Christ as your
21:43 personal Savior. Be actively involved. Now when you're
21:48 talking about standing up at different locations where people
21:53 are about to have abortions and shooting people, NO, no, no.
21:58 That's not moral issue that's a behavior that is un-Christ like.
22:02 That's the behavior that we're not talking about. We're talking
22:06 about issues that touch Christianity. In a positive way
22:10 let's be there to defend our cause. That's what I like. That
22:15 was good, I like that. Then the
22:16 last one...
22:30 Now I'm going to back up. Support global mission,
22:33 everybody says yeah I'm going to support the mission of the
22:36 church. Most people don't have a problem with praying. That's not
22:41 a problem. Oh, I'll pray for you I'll pray for the global mission.
22:45 Money, hmm, could be an issue. It shouldn't be with the
22:50 Christian, but the last but not least is most important,
22:55 personnel. God needs you as an individual to get up out of your
23:00 seat into the street and be actively involved in the street.
23:06 That's the secret of being involved.
23:10 You know I like the emphasis that you place on global mission
23:13 because it also gets rid of selfishness or a local focus
23:18 on me; I'm only concerned about my church and my neighborhood
23:23 with my people and it's local. But when you go global you come
23:28 out of yourself and you give to someone else or to a country or
23:32 to a location that doesn't have what you have and you come back
23:36 with something. There are a lot of people who go on Maranatha
23:39 volunteer trips or Operation Reach Bag trips. There's a lot
23:43 of different organizations that are doing good things around the
23:46 world. I know I've seen a lot of young people who've gone and
23:50 they've deepened their relationship with the Lord Jesus
23:53 Christ and you're never too young or too old. Matter of fact
23:56 there was a lady in our church in Flint, Michigan who was 69
24:00 years old and she got a call to go to Zimbabwe, Africa and she
24:03 was wondering whether or not she should go. Well she had no chick
24:07 nor child as they say and she took a plane and left and stayed
24:11 for a whole year and loved it.
24:12 That's involvement. That's personnel. There are individuals
24:17 who cannot even go to Zimbabwe or Latin America or Europe, but
24:20 they can do something right there in their community. Let's
24:25 say that there's a family living next door. Interesting word,
24:32 family; mother, daughter. That's a family. No father, hardly any
24:39 relatives because they live too far away. The neighbor now
24:42 becomes the aunt to that child. That's mission. The neighbor now
24:51 can come next door and say I will babysit for you. I will
24:57 read Bible stories to your child Your child is growing up. I
25:03 will assist you with spirituality. I will even assist
25:08 you in helping cleaning your house. That's personnel.
25:13 That's investing in someone else That's called home missions. Yes
25:19 My wife and I, we're doing it right now, helping other
25:25 families where there's a gap. And so now the phone call is
25:31 can we go to church. Sure. We'll pick you up. The right time, the
25:37 right day. That is the secret of outreach to the community and
25:42 the world. That's essential number one. Let me read a
25:47 statement here. This is from the book Evangelism. Quite thick
25:54 isn't it. It's page 412 it's the bottom paragraph. There is a
26:01 great work to be done. It may seem to move slowly and hard at
26:08 first, but God will work mightily through you if you will
26:15 only make an entire surrender to him. Much of the time you
26:21 will have to walk by faith not by feelings.
26:25 I like that, that's a great statement.
26:28 Oh, by the way, for those
26:29 who are watching at home let me give you some resources before
26:32 our program is over. The book Evangelism that he's reading is
26:36 by a woman by the name of Ellen White who lived in the 1800's.
26:40 And she has written a lot of really wonderful things not
26:43 only on evangelism but on health and some other topics. If you're
26:47 interesting in getting hold of Jason McCracken or would like
26:52 to know more about these seven essentials that he has presented
26:57 today go to the 3ABN website, www.3ABN.org and look for
27:04 Jason McCracken and the Review and Herald and that website is
27:10 RHPA.org. You can find it on the 3ABN website. And again I want
27:15 say think you so much for coming to our program and
27:17 watching today and before we leave Jason will you have a
27:20 prayer with us please. Sure. Father we're so thankful
27:23 for the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. We're
27:27 thankful that the mission of the church is to go and to preach
27:32 to every creature, every nation, every tongue, every language
27:36 there is and tell the good news about Jesus Christ. We're
27:40 thankful Lord for Issues and Answers and we're thankful that
27:44 you've been with us and help our studio audience as they
27:47 learn from these essentials. May they be blessed. May we all
27:51 be saved into thy kingdom, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
27:55 Amen. Thank you so much and God bless you until next time.