Missions, as modeled in the book of Acts, is centered on the local church. This paradigm marks the ministry of Paul, the preeminent missionary, from his commissioning as God’s servant to the culmination of his missionary endeavors. When Paul and Barnabas were called by the Holy Spirit to embark on the first missionary journey, it was the church in Antioch that sent them out (Acts 13:1–3). The goal of this initial missionary effort, as well as all those that followed, was to plant local churches wherever the gospel took root. As he sowed gospel seed, Paul was ministered to and encouraged by churches such as those in Philippi (Philippians 2:25–29) and others in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1–5). When Paul finally returned from each journey, it was always to the local church that he would report.
Clearly this commitment and connection between the missionary and the church is vital. Not only does the church provide spiritual accountability and oversight for those sent to minister overseas, it is a source of great encouragement and help through prayer and financial support. Put simply, the relationship between the missionary and the church is an illustration of the body of Christ functioning even across great distances.
Here at Grace Church, we have endeavored to follow this biblical model of missions. The same year our church was founded, Marjorie Farley was sent out as our first-ever missionary. Since then, hundreds of missionaries have been either sent or supported by our congregation. Today, there are over ninety missionary families supported by Grace Church in thirty-four countries. In the early days, it was easy to remember each missionary and their prayer needs; however, now, with so many families in the field, it can be more challenging.
To help with this, we issue a wall calendar each year featuring our missionary families. This calendar serves as a helpful tool to remind us of these distant members of our congregation and their need for our prayers throughout the year.
This year, the calendar features a QR code each month that leads to more information about each of the featured missionaries, which often includes a video greeting introducing their family and ministry. We pray that the Missionary Calendar will assist you in becoming better acquainted with our missionaries, so that you might more effectively come alongside them in prayer as they serve the Lord around the world.