The local church is the body of Jesus Christ. We are His hands and feet to minister in our community. As the missionary pastor of a local church, I look for ways for our congregation to get involved in the community in order to share the good news of salvation through Christ alone.
We have been partnering with Medical Missions Outreach since 2006 to show the love of Christ in a tangible way in our community with the goal of opening a door to share the gospel. When we hosted MMO last January, one of the team members asked me about the impact we have seen on our local church as a result of the visiting medical teams through the years. Based on her reaction, I think she was expecting me to say that we have dozens of people in our church who have been saved through the medical outreach and have become active members in our local church. We do have a few of those, but that’s not what I’ve seen as the greatest impact that the MMO teams have had when they visit.
The greatest impact that I have seen has been in the spiritual maturity of our church people. When MMO’s medical and non-medical volunteers come alongside a local church to minister for a week, a beautiful symbiotic relationship takes place with the arriving volunteers and the local volunteers. This past January, for example, 40 volunteers arrived with MMO for the first day of clinic, and they met 60 volunteers from our local congregation to work in areas such as crowd control, registration, translation, and most importantly, evangelism. Over the 4 clinic days, over 100 distinct volunteers from our church helped in the outreach effort. This combined effort impacts our church people in several ways. It exposes them to the physical and spiritual needs of our community, which in turn increases their burden for souls; it gives them a way to get involved in serving their community in ways they wouldn’t be able to without this unique outreach opportunity, which exercises their spiritual muscles toward greater maturity; it empowers them to seek intentional and unconventional service opportunities long after the visiting team is gone, which gives them a vision for the over-arching goal of discipleship among the nations.