Our missions strategy is to support and participate in the work of planting healthy churches among peoples and in places where few (or none) exist.
Below, we explain why.
The Bible gives us a model for the work of getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from all nations. To the best of our ability, we have built our missions strategy on the biblical model.
The Apostle Paul was, very likely, the greatest Christian missionary in history. He covered thousands of miles by foot and by boat all while enduring tremendous persecution. At the end of his letter to the Romans, he gives us God’s strategy for reaching all nations with the good news that God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has come to rescue sinners.
In chapter 15, he writes, “from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written, ‘They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.’”(Rom 15:19-21, NASB).
There are three key implications for a biblically-faithful missions strategy that we can see in the life of Paul and in this text (don’t miss point 3).
First, disciples are made in healthy local churches.
Paul planted churches and trained pastors to lead the churches he planted. God saves people into His church, and local churches are the place where people are baptized and taught to observe all that Christ commands (Matt 28:18-20). In the New Testament, Christians are always part of a local church or part of the work of establishing a new church. Christians and churches go together.
Second, the gospel is preached by healthy local churches.
When Paul says he has “fully preached” the gospel, he does not mean he has preached the gospel to every person. Rather, every person in that region (Jerusalem to Illyricum) had the opportunity to hear the gospel proclaimed in a language they could understand. Why? Because Paul had established enough churches in the region to live out and proclaim the gospel to everyone living in that region.
In the world of modern technology, it is easy to forget the centrality of the local church to fulfilling the Great Commission. Preaching on the radio can be good. Preaching on TV can be good. Preaching through a crusade or evangelistic ministry can be good, but it is local churches planted among a local people that establish a reliable and sustainable witness to the gospel for the long term.
What the people of the world, in every place and every generation, need more than anything else is to hear the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). This happens by the establishment of health local churches who can “fully preach” the gospel where they are.
Third, we must plant churches among people who do not yet know the Name of Jesus Christ.
When Paul had fully preached the gospel in one region, he desired to take the gospel to a new region where Christ was not yet known. This way, more could “hear” and “understand” and be rescued by Christ. There are approximately 3 billion people in 6,700 people groups (people with a distinct language/culture) who have little to no access to the gospel, and they need to hear of Jesus!
This is why our missions strategy is to support, assist, and send out missionaries to do the work of planting healthy churches among peoples and in places where few (or none) exist. We aim to encourage, establish, and strengthen local churches who will share the gospel among the people around them until Christ returns.
Acts 4:12 says, "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” The peoples of the world desperately need to hear of Jesus.
To pursue this great work of getting the gospel to all the peoples of the world, we partner with more than 47,000 like-minded churches in the U.S. to support, train, and send missionaries through the International Mission Board. Currently, we support more than 3,500 missionaries around the globe. These missionaries are planting churches among the least-reached peoples of the world and often in some of the most dangerous places in the world.
In addition, we are praying that God would raise up more missionaries from North Roanoke to go with the International Mission Board and plant churches where people so desperately still need to hear His beautiful, marvelous, powerful Name.