We, as a Missions Team, are excited about what God is doing with missions at GRC. Part of the challenge of this ministry is that so many of the missionaries we support are working in “sensitive” locations around the world, which makes it difficult to communicate about them through the Web or email without putting them or their ministries at risk, but we can tell you that God is doing some remarkable things among our partners. And we’re excited about what he is doing through GRC, too.
GRC’s “Core” and our Missions Vision
GRC’s Purpose is to glorify God and make him known, and, as we express in our Core Value of Kingdom Reproduction, that happens through evangelism, discipleship, developing leaders, planting churches, and participating in cross-cultural and global missions. Those first items happen in and through GRC and our people directly. The Missions Team is tasked to facilitate the last two in that list: planting churches and participating in cross-cultural and global missions.
Toward that end, our highest priority as a Missions Team is to mobilize our church to support efforts to plant Gospel-centered, missional churches:
- among “unreached people groups” (UPGs—less than 2% evangelical and less than 5% professing Christians), especially “unengaged” UPGs (no known active church planting underway).
- in our presbytery.
There are compelling reasons for this priority amongst UPGs and domestically in our own region, which the Missions Team is happy to explain in more detail to anyone who is interested. In addition to this top church planting priority, we also prioritize ministries that ensure the indigenous church around the world is healthy, equipped, viable, and missional, as well as ministries that reach strategically important target groups (such as university students, including international students) and ministries which allow GRC members to participate directly.
Progress Toward Our Vision
Since 2019 we have been intentionally advancing these priorities. Each of our annual missions conferences have advanced our strategic vision in some way:
- 2019 focused on the priority of UPGs, including those around us in this area
- 2020 focused on church planting within our presbytery
- 2021 focused on prayer in the midst of a global pandemic
- 2022 will focus on adopting an unreached people group as a church with others in our presbytery
During this time, despite a global pandemic and great uncertainty, through your support we have increased our missions budget over 50% and added new partners to:
- Church plant among Turks in Paterson-Clifton (one of the world’s largest UPGs)
- Church plant among Bangladeshis in Bangladesh and Detroit (one of the world’s largest UPGs)
- Church plant among an unengaged UPG with only one known missionary team in the entire country
- Set aside funds to plant a GRC daughter church as soon as we can recruit a planter
- Mercy ministry to at-risk children and their families in Beirut (many of whom are from UPGs)
- Evangelism and discipleship of Jewish people locally and in Israel (UPGs)
- Evangelism and discipleship in Turkey (UPG)
- Ministry to New Jersey state legislators and government officials
- Set aside funds to help start the first PCA campus ministry at Rutgers in New Brunswick
- One-time support of several mercy ministry projects in Paterson, Beirut, Mali, and Bangladesh
Prior missionaries and ministries which we continue to support include church planting among local Albanian immigrants (UPG), church planting in Italy (amongst a secular post-Christian society), The Open Door, evangelism and discipleship to Japanese college students (UPG), New City Kids in Paterson, and campus ministry in PA. God is doing encouraging things in and through all of these ministries!
In the coming year, we anticipate:
- Sending our first ever GRC member family as career missionaries (the Son family will be appointed by TEAM this week and will move to the Middle East in 2023)!
- Hosting the presbytery Missions Conference to inspire our people, equip our churches, and explore ways our presbytery can work together to adopt an unreached people group (March). Be sure to register if you haven’t already!
- Calling our first PCA campus minister as a presbytery to work at Rutgers (May).
- Sending our youth on the first youth missions trip in several years (July).
- Calling a church planting resident to lay the groundwork to launch a new church plant in our region (currently searching).
- Sending Pastor Steve with a delegation from presbytery on a Vision Trip to identify a UPG to adopt (October).
- Continuing to grow the missions budget through your faithful giving in order to advance these and other causes.
All of these cross-cultural and global experiences will spur us on in our own disciple-making effort to equip our members for mission wherever we live, work, and play so that we, too, are doing “here” what we send missionaries to do “over there.”
I can’t wait to see how God works through GRC missions in the coming year!
If you would like learn more about the missions ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Sage is the Pastor of Discipleship at GRC and a member of The Missions Team.