Equipping the American Church for Missions by Emily Verlin

Before I moved back to the U.S. after serving as a missionary for two years in South Asia, many people told me to expect a difficult season as I returned home. They told me I would experience reverse culture shock in a variety of ways.

Reverse culture shock is a common experience for many returned missionaries. And it would be easy to let these struggles paralyze us when we return from the field. However, our field experience — whether it was two years or 20 — has given us a tremendous opportunity to continue the work back home.

Scripture holds a high view of the local church and gives us examples of how people like Paul and Barnabas equipped the local church for mission (Acts 14:24-28). Like them, missionaries can take their passion for sharing the Gospel and turn it into a desire to equip the American church.

Sharing the Gospel through shared experiences.

Last Christmas, I invited a South Asian friend to go see Christmas lights around our city. Instead of going with her by myself, I decided to invite a fellow church member, Sarah, to go with us. During the evening, many doors were opened to Gospel conversations. Sarah shared the Christmas story and later elaborated on why we serve the one true God.

Afterward, Sarah was overcome with joy. We talked about what a privilege it is to share the best news. She was reminded of how easy it can be to have spiritual conversations, and she shared her desire to make Gospel proclamation a higher priority. She was convicted that she had not taken full advantage of the Gospel opportunities with her own South Asian neighbors.

The Lord used that evening to challenge and encourage me in three specific ways.

Build relationships with the unreached in my city, share the Gospel with them, and bring fellow believers with me.

Jesus exemplified this methodology by bringing his disciples with Him as He preached the Gospel in word and deed. Believers can attend every evangelism class and training that comes along, but there is something about actually seeing another believer demonstrate Gospel proclamation that makes it click. I have found that my best evangelistic conversations have happened alongside another believer. Just as Sarah said, sharing the Gospel is not that hard!

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Source: Baptist Press