“But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)
The population of the world is 7.1 billion people and growing exponentially! The Population Reference Bureau estimates that a total of 107.6 billion have lived throughout the history of the world. That means 6.5% of all people that have ever lived are living today! According to Internet World Stats, 360,000 births occur each day (250 per minute) and 151,600 deaths occur each day (105 per minute)! The evangelization of the world may seem “impossible” to those lacking faith, as we attempt to reach the six populated continents, hundreds of islands, and billions of people speaking some 7,000 languages. In fact, Wikipedia lists 196 sovereign countries and another 46 territories by population, including the Pitcairn Islands with a population of 48! However, we know that “God determines the exact times and places each person should live… so that we would seek Him and perhaps reach out to Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)
The global population across the various regions of the world breaks down as follows:
Latin America 9%
North America 5%
(Australia & Pacific Islands)
Within every one of these regions a very interesting phenomenon is occurring: people are leaving the rural areas and migrating more and more to the urban areas. According to National Geographic, in 1975 there were only three “mega-cities” with populations greater than 10 million – Mexico City, Tokyo and New York City. Today there are 21 such cities! If all 7 billion people stood side-by-side they would take up an area equal to the greater Los Angeles area. We must remember that Jesus himself said, “And the gospel MUST first be preached to all nations.” (Mark 13:10) This is what our 2013 Missions Contribution is all about: taking the gospel of Jesus Christ “to all nations.” Jesus emphasizes that this “MUST” be done!
So often, disciples ask, “Why are we taking-up a Missions Contribution and how does the leadership determine the multiple versus our weekly contribution?” The answer is simple: We are resolved to preach the gospel to all nations in our generation. Each year we develop specific Prayer Goals for the City of Angels Church and all the other SoldOut Movement Churches with the foundation built on our Crown of Thorns Project developed in 2009 to reach 12 of the most influential cities in the world. Those cities in turn will evangelize the surrounding nations and cities, and so the world will be evangelized! (Acts 13:49; 19:8-10) To date, we have reached five of the 12 Crown of Thorns Cities – London, Mexico City, Paris, Santiago, Sao Paulo, and we will be half way to planting all 12 with the sending-out of the Sydney Mission Team later this year! Through the Spirit’s guidance and power, we now have churches on all six populated continents with an average Sunday attendance reaching 3,500! God’s new movement is seeing additions every six hours! This has been accomplished in only six years and we are just getting started!
America represents almost one third of the world’s monetary net worth. God has granted us religious freedom and incredible wealth in the United States. American wealth – combined with our generosity – is the source to raise the funds and fuel the growth of God’s churches, thus fulfilling the mission to evangelize the nations in our generation. Our dear brother Joe Willis – who Lord willing will plant Sydney, Australia later this year – has done a remarkable job in inspiring those of us in LA in the City of Angels Church to better understand what the Bible says about giving. Each week at the City of Angels Church Staff Meeting, Joe gives a five-minute charge regarding weekly contribution and missions. This, along with convicting teaching from our brother Kip, has allowed us to get in touch with the fact that the “American Dream” is really the “American Scheme!” (Luke 12:14-21) People are so focused on material possession and wealth that they totally miss out on the true purpose of “seeking and saving the lost.” (Luke 19:10) Our congregation’s leaders have worked very hard at helping disciples to live within their means, as well as to plan and budget properly. Our leaders have also taught from the Scriptures the benefits of giving their tithes and offerings to God. (Malachi 3:6-12)
The time is now for us to share with every disciple the specific SoldOut Movement Mission Goals for 2013. We are calling all USA congregations to take up a minimum 15X Missions Contribution in April and to budget for a 6X Missions Contribution in November. Los Angeles will collect a 20X Missions Contribution in June. This is what the movement needs in order to support the mission work to be completed over the next year.
As the Administrator for the SoldOut Movement, the Lord has put it on my heart to help everyone better understand the overall collection and distribution of all of God’s funds. Similar to Paul, “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer [your] liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” (2 Corinthians 8:9-10) Within our movement of churches there are four primary budgets: 1) The local weekly contribution on Sundays and the benevolence collection at Midweek Services support the daily operation of each local church. 2) The Central Administration payments of 15% of the Sunday collections support the Central Leadership, our Global Internet Ministry, legal counsel expenses, and church governance. 3) MERCYworldwide payments of 3% of each Sunday’s contribution support the “benevolent arm” of the SoldOut Movement. 4) Missions Contributions support existing international churches, missionaries, USA and international church plantings. In setting a Missions Goal of 15X or 20X our average weekly contribution, we are planning for that money to support these endeavors. Our 2013 Missions Contribution Goal is to collect nearly $1.1 million!
Internationally, these precious funds will be distributed to support our churches and fulltime ministry staff in Chennai, India led by Raja & Debs Rajan; Kiev, Ukraine led by Eugene & Yulia Sobolleff; Manila, Philippines led by John Malnegro; Mexico City, Mexico led by Victor & Aurora Gonzalez Jr.; Paris, France overseen by Tim & Lianne Kernan; Santiago, Chile led by Carlos & Lucy Mejia; Sao Paulo, Brazil led by Raul & Lynda Moreno; and the upcoming Sydney, Australia planting led by Joe & Kerry Willis.
Excitingly, the 2013 Missions Contribution will also support the Las Vegas Church Planting being sent-out today from LA and led by Jason & Sarah Dimitry. Additional distribution of funds includes missionary training support for Argo & Anu Arneson – who oversee Stockholm, Sweden and the Scandinavian nations; Kyle & Joan Bartholomew – who Lord willing will plant the Manila, Philippines Church in 2014; Tyler & Shay Sears who we pray will plant Dallas, Texas in June 2014; and Oleg & Aliona Sirotkin, who if the Lord wills, will plant Moscow, Russia in late 2014 or early 2015! Additionally, the 2013 Missions Contribution will be applied for travel, relocation and training.
God continues to gather His remnant and this has provided us with the opportunity to welcome into our fellowship so many former fulltime ministry couples! Of note, Mike & Dena Sanicola will be assisting Jeremiah & Julie Clark in planting the Denver, Colorado Church in August 2013! Also encouraging, Renato & Maria Jose Tria recently joined us in Sao Paulo, Brazil and will work alongside Raul & Lynda in reaching the 194 million lost souls in Brazil! In addition, Gustavo & Claudia Escobedo will be establishing a remnant group in Guatemala City, Guatemala. God is gathering His leaders as well as His people as we lay the foundation on Jesus Christ. (Nehemiah 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 3:11)
In sending out the 72, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.” (Luke10: 2) The City of Angels Church has sent out 200 disciples in the past five years to either plant or strengthen seventeen different churches! God desires our USA congregations to join the City of Angels Church in sending-out workers into the harvest field. This is beginning to unfold, as this past year the Washington DC Church sent-out Carlos & Lucy Mejia along with 10 disciples to lead the Santiago Church! It is so exciting this year to see the DC Church welcome Steve & Kithy Ranga to further train in the ministry and walk with Ron & Tracy Harding. In August, Lord willing, the Washington DC Church will also send-out Jeremiah & Julie Clark along with 10 other disciples to plant a discipling congregation in Denver, Colorado! Ron and the DC Church are imitating the Los Angeles Church! (1 Thessalonians 2:14)
Could you only imagine if all the people of the world gathered in Los Angeles and stood side-by-side for the most amazing church service of all time? We could share the gospel with each and every one so much easier. Unfortunately that is not the way it works! In America, we plan for vacations, school, our careers, getting married, having a family, retirement and we even plan for death with funeral arrangements! So it should not surprise us that we need a financial plan for Missions Contributions that will allow us to send-out disciples to all the nations to preach the good news because, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” (Colossians 1: 6) Let’s continue to be in God’s grace and let the world know that like Jesus, “we do exactly what the Father commands,” which is to “go and make disciples of all nations!” And to God be the glory!