ou dont have to read much of On Mission to
discover one of our most important core beliefs: God wants every Christian to
be personally on mission with Him, delivering the gospel to the
Does that mean that every Christian is a missionary? Well, not exactly.
Some on mission Christians receive a special call from God to go from
where they are to places and people that God has prepared for them. Philip went
to Samaria and Gaza (Acts 8), Peter went to the
Gentile household of Cornelius (Acts 10), Paul and his partners went to places
and people now chronicled as the names of many New Testament books (Acts
13-28). Names like William Carey, Adoniram Judson and Lottie Moon bring to mind
more contemporary missionaries called to specific places and
So does that mean you have to cross an ocean or speak a different
language to be a missionary? Again, not exactly. Take for example the eight
modern-day missionaries profiled here. Their unique giftedness and preparation
now help them get past the barriers that have kept people in their mission
field from hearing the good news about Jesus.
These missionaries are representative of the 5,025 who have been
appointed by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to places of service in
the United States, Canada and their territories. During a special Week
of Prayer for North American missions March 5-12 thousands of churches and
literally millions of Christians will pray for these eight and for
theon mission cause of sharing the gospel throughout
We invite you, too, to be their partners in prayer.
Its not every church where a bright yellow Piper
Super Cub airplane could pull up in the parking lot on Sunday morning, but at
Alzaida Baptist Church in the southeast corner of Montana theyre getting used
to it. That just means that their director of missions, Mike McKinney, is
visiting. He lands on the highway in front of the church.
Welcome to eastern Montana, where wheat and cows are plentiful but
peopleclustered in small communities like Alzaidaare a more scarce commodity.
The 29 churches and missions McKinney assists in the Big Sky and Hi-Line
Baptist Associations cover a 64,000-square-mile area larger than many states.
The single-engine aircraft he pilots is the best way for Mike to cover it
Mike and his wife, Martha, serve as North American Mission Board
Mike said it was during seminary in the mid-1970s that he first felt the
call to missions in the Northwest, after hearing Alaska Baptist Convention
executive Troy Prince speak of the needs.
Circumstances did not allow that call to be
fulfilled immediately, but throughout years of ministry in Texas it was never
forgotten. Mike knew piloting skills would be valuable, so in one of his
pastorates a friend taught him to fly. In a move to a church-owned parsonage,
he used the equity from a former home to buy his first airplane.
"Every time a church called me I always told them that someday Im going to
the Northwest," Mike said.
Then in 1991 the opportunity came to serve as pastor of Trinity Baptist
Church in Missoula in western Montana. Three years later he became director of
missions for the two associations that make up most of the states eastern
"I needed 22 years of experience as a pastor to know how to work with
pastors and to help them with the situations in their churches," he said.
The isolation can be stressful for pastors, so fellowship is important.
Regular meetings are well attended, and Mike also makes an effort to visit
pastors regularly. Martha likes to go with him to provide encouragement for
wives who can have a difficult time adjusting to the culture.
"Evangelism here requires people seeing the genuineness of your faith. Youve
got to come alongside and work beside them. You build a relationship, and as
you do you win the right to share your faith," Mike says.
Mike often does just that. On the cattle ranches its not unusual for one or
two men in a family to operate an entire ranch of 50,000 of acres. Then when it
comes time for round-up or spring branding, all the ranchers pitch in to help
each other. Mike often finds himself herding cattle alongside them.
Mike also has worked in Indian reservations. Native Americans can be reached
only after carefully cultivating relationships. But the dynamics are completely
"They really have to get to know you, observe you, look at your life. And
when an American Indian is converted to Christ, he has to give up all his
worship of things," he said, noting that it often means being shunned by ones
family. They are viewed as having abandoned their race for the white mans
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