Why We Must Prioritize Telescoping Missions

"Telescoping" is a term coined by Missiologist Dwight Smith to indicate an individual, or a church's posture for missions directed at facilitating ingenious leadership in locations distant from their own. While the term may a be a new one to you, the principle is not. One of the most famous passages in scripture for missionaries and missions conferences all over the world is found in one verse: 

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

It's not about you. We must be committed to outward thinking, rather than inward thinking. The last recorded words of Jesus to the disciples and to the church are a charge to be His bold witnesses throughout the world under the influence and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Pastors and Christian leaders realize reaching the world for Christ means coming to the sobering conclusion that it's not about us. It's about them! Church culture often focuses on what goes on inside the four walls rather than what goes on outside, nearby, and beyond. But as Jesus illustrated in Acts 1:8, the mission of the church is to be reaching into its community, its region, its continent, and world. 

I do a fair amount of painting. Somewhere along the way, it has proven to be a useful skill for a pastor and church planting catalyst. Recently I used a long paint handle with a telescoping arm. With a tray of paint at my feet, I could cover many, many more feet of wall space than I could have without such a tool. With this telescoping handle, I was able to put paint on the wall only a few feet away, and at the same time I was able to reach far, far away from where I stood. The telescoping church is no different. We have been given the Gospel, and have been told to share it near and far. 

In our church, we call this telescoping process Presence, Planting, and Partnering. At each level, we are looking to spread the Gospel. Remember, it's not about you. It's about them. How are we being a bold witness empowered by the Holy Spirit to those just outside our property lines, as well as those far beyond our borders who need to hear the name of Jesus spoken clearly in both words and actions? Join me. We must prioritize telescoping missions, starting at our own front door. 

Pastor Milo


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