Lighthouse Missions: Cart Before the Horse?

by Grace Wu and Steven Hong

As Christ asends to heaven, His final exhortation to the Apostles, in the Great Commission, is to go and make disciples of all nations. From the inception of Lighthouse Bible Church, these words of Christ were present in the hearts of the leaders and their conviction trickled down to its laypeople. The call continues from the pulpit, in the membership classes, and is even built into our MVP statement—our vision is to be a church-planting church.

The founding leaders and charter members of Lighthouse, went against conventional wisdom, and placed a lot of focus on establishing a strong international missions mindset from the beginning. “When we first started Lighthouse, I really wanted to see our church get involved with international ministry from the beginning, so that it would be seen as something vital and not secondary in the life of the church,” Pastor John recalls. For such a young church-plant to already be focused on planting more churches, it may have been seen by some as putting the cart before the horse. But according to Pastor Patrick, the leaders remained resolute and came to the conclusion that missions, “was one of the non-negotiables with our young church.”

At the time, Pastor John had been corresponding with a number of his friends already in the missions field. One particular contact in the Czech Republic followed up by coming stateside along with a small contingent of his church, which proved to be the perfect occasion to organize the first Lighthouse Missions Conferences in 2000. It was a refreshing time of teaching and fellowship—but the fruit of that meeting would be enormous. It was this friend that eventually put the Lighthouse leaders in contact with Meinolf and Martina Mellwig, who were in the eastern city of Ostrava. That summer, a Lighthouse team was sent to Ostrava to work with the Mellwigs, and that would be the beginning of an eight-year partnership in ministry, which remains strong today.

In September of 2004, another ministry opportunity arose when Pastor John was invited to Argentina to speak. During Pastor John’s short stint as an itinerant speaker, God began to open doors for more ministry opportunities. One particular missionary, named Eduardo Buldain, put Pastor John in contact with a small church in the central northern part of Argentina, in a small barrio called Tucuman.

Several months later, when Pastor John and Mike Chon made a scouting trip to the church, it was clear to them that the believers in Tucuman were hungry for the Word of God – even asking these foreign missionary “scouts” to preach on several accounts, without much time to prepare. Since that time, we have had a team go out the past two summers, to assist the church in door-to-door evangelism, encourage the older believers, equip the younger ones and essentially be at the disposal of Missionary Bible Church’s leaders.

Lighthouse’s missions efforts are certainly not secondary in the life of the church, by any means. It is not limited to a certain season and to a select few. Because missions is preached so faithfully from the pulpit, encouraged by members and, most importantly, commanded by Christ, it has become a church-wide effort, integral to Lighthouse’s life and identity.

“The biggest surprise to me was that each year the teams were not flooded by collegians,” Pastor Patrick observes. “ I always thought with summer trips that the only people who would be willing to go were the ones who received summer breaks, like teachers and students.”

Instead, working members take vacation days; families bring their children, even infants; and sending members devote themselves to continual. prayer, organize perpetual fundraisers, and give tremendous resources and funds, all with the united heart to “make disciples of all nations.”

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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