Friday, April 25, 2008

Only 15% of Pastors Consider Missionary Outreach A Top Priority

Leaders of the Church of God Theological Seminary and World Missions teamed up this week to celebrate the annual Seminary Missions Week, turning the spotlight on the missions calling of the church.

"Our work is cut out for us," said Bill George, coordinator of education for World Missions. "A recent national survey of pastors indicated that only 15 percent of them considered missionary outreach to be one of the top priorities of the church. We believe the Bible gives it much higher precedence."

The weeklong observance, planned by Dr. Grant McClung of the seminary faculty and a committee from the school and the missions office, included a panel discussion in the Tuesday chapel service, a luncheon on Wednesday, and a preaching event in chapel Thursday. Displays depicting missions ministries remained up near the chapel throughout the week.

Roland Vaughan, general director of World Missions, spoke in the Thursday chapel on the subject, "Finishing the Great Commission." He told students and faculty that it now seems possible within the coming few years to ensure that the message of the gospel will have reached all people throughout the world. This would not have been doable until now, but advances in technology and people movement have made it possible, he said.

The Tuesday panel explored the dimensions of the church's mission and included a focus on local church outreach and foreign missions activity. Panelists were Carl Caffrey, pastor of evangelism and discipleship at Westmore Church of God; Kirk Walters, pastor of missions and discipleship at Mount Paran North church in Marietta, Georgia; Brenda Hughes of the Bradley Initiative for Church and Community; and Dan Howell of the Center for Spiritual Renewal.

A special missions project was the collection of books for a Bible institute in Mongolia. Two June graduates, Bayarjargal Gombosuren and his wife, Mendbayar Nansandorj, will return to their home country and set up the new training school.

Dr. Steven Land, president, hosted a luncheon of seminary and missions leaders and students from other countries who are studying at the school. "Our partnership with World Missions helps us keep a focus on the importance of having a world vision," he told the participants.

[Source: Church of God World Missions]