|Friday:||A Shepherd's Priorities|
|Bible Lesson:||Shepherded Sheep: The church needs leaders. We must follow Jesus, and we must follow our leaders.|
|Memory Verse:||Ephesians 2:10|
|Missions Concepts:||Missionaries must teach the Bible, not cultural norms.|
|Missions Examples:||Craig and Sara Noyes|
|Bible Passages:||1st Corinthians 2:1-16|
What's the most important thing for a shepherd to do? Dye the sheep's wool? Tie ribbons and bows around their necks? What about teaching the sheep to bark? [No.]
The most important thing is making sure the sheep have enough grass to eat.
Main Point: Teaching the Right Stuff
It's like that for missionaries too. Some people think missionaries need to help the people all build nice houses, build them a big beautiful church building with a steeple and stained glass, teach people in other countries to be more like Americans, and all kinds of other things. Some of those things might actually be good things to do, sometimes – but they're never as important as the main thing missionaries are supposed to do: they have to feed the sheep.
Missionaries have to teach the Bible. That's the most important thing.
Example: Craig and Sara Noyes
We said on Monday that Pastor Craig and Sara Noyes are going to training to learn how to do missions work among people who have never heard about Jesus before. When they finish their training and arrive where they're going, they'll have a lot of things to do. They will need to find a place to live, learn the language, get to know the people and understand how they do things there, find food to eat, ... They'll be busy. But they will have to always remember why they are there: to tell the people about Jesus and how they can have their sins forgiven. That's the most important thing.
They'll probably do other stuff too. They might teach some of the people to read, so that when they get the Bible translated, the people will be able to read the Bible for themselves. But teaching people to read, by itself, isn't missions, and it's not why Craig and Sara are going. The main point is to teach the people about God.
Counter-example: Early American Indian Missions
When missionaries from Europe came to the American Indians, sometimes they forgot why they were here, and they taught the people the wrong things. They taught them to speak English, and told them not to speak their own language any more. They made some of them cut their hair the European way, instead of the way they were used to. They made them wear boots instead of moccasins. Then, when the Indians looked the way the missionaries wanted them to look, they finally remembered to teach them a few Bible verses. Was that the right way to do missions? [No.]
If they had remembered what missions is all about, they wouldn't have bothered with boots and special haircuts at all. Those things aren't important.
Instead, good missionaries would have worked mostly on teaching the people what the Bible says – especially the good news about how Jesus died for them so their sins could be forgiven. That is what missions is supposed to be all about.
Conclusion: Good Missions
That's what Craig and Sara Noyes will do. They won't care what color of clothes the people wear, how they cook their food and do their laundry, or what time of day they meet together to pray, or what day of the week. They just want to teach them the Bible and see them become God's sheep.
Invite any children who want to do missions work to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.